The Boston Lockdown

While the second terrorist in the Boston Marathon bombing still was being hunted, Boston and a number of surrounding suburbs were put on lockdown, as police recommended (strongly) that everyone should stay indoors while they searched for the terrorist, a terrorist who, as it turns out, had escaped the perimeter the police had set up to enclose a small part of the city.

During that lockdown, Boston took a number of hits, and so I have some thoughts about the pros and cons of the matter.

  • Pros:
    • easier to spot the terrorist on the move (which the police never did)
    • clearer lines of fire should they need to engage
  • Cons:
    • citizens were unable to participate in the manhunt, even though part of a citizen’s duty is to aid the police
    • citizens were unable to go about their own business, except at government behest
    • economic activity in the city came to a halt for the duration
    • a “go inside and hide” mentality makes it easier for a government to dominate its people

The city and people of Boston took hits from the impairment of their individual freedoms (this time, brief) and to their economic activity (this time, both brief and local).  In the end, too, the lockdown contributed very little to the actual tracking and capture of the remaining terrorist.

There are a couple of things about this: for one, these now are tools for subsequent terrorists in their subsequent activities.  On an individual basis, the loss to Boston and to Bostonians was small—but scaled up, with terrorists now acting so as to prompt further lockdowns, the losses can easily mount to a scope far beyond the reach of any physical terrorist act or collection of them done in concert.  Disruptions to our lives get us dancing to the terrorists’ tune as surely as actually killing us.

Widespread lockdowns also get us in the habit of letting the government corral us, for our own good.

Keep in mind Benjamin Franklin’s warning:

Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, will have neither Liberty nor Safety.

Although the warning might be hard for some to understand, it being older than one hundred years.

One thought on “The Boston Lockdown

  1. I hadn’t thought of that aspect of the “shelter in place” order – excuse me “request” – but your points are absolutely valid. My concern was in the Governor’s (? Mayor’s? SOMEbody’s) instruction to only open their doors to “properly identified” law enforcement personnel. I was figuring on a scenario something like this:

    [doorbell rings]
    Voice from outside the door: “Police! Open up!”

    82 year old Widow homeowner: “May I see some identification, please?”

    Voice: “I SAID it’s the police. Now OPEN THE GODDAMN DOOR!!!”

    Homeowner: “But the Governor said not to open the door except to properly identified law enforcement! Could you PLEASE show me some identification?”

    Voice: “We don’t have TIME for this bull$$$t! Open the F$$$$$G DOOR, LADY! NOW!”

    [from outside the door a voice “That’s IT! Get the f$$$$$g ram!” CRASH The door flies open throwing the frail homeowner backward to fall and hit her head on the coffee table. The coroner will later list her cause of death as intracranial bleeding.]

    Just as the heavily armed police rush into the home and see the tiny homeowner lieing in a pool of blood from a massive would to her old gray head, a voice is heard from outside “Back off, guys. The radio just reported a possible sighting on the other side of town.”

    At the old woman’s funeral are her 5 children with spouses, 18 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren. Not wishing to tarnish the outstanding work done by combined local, state and federal law enforcement, no local media outlet carries anything about the incident. Her obituary only mentions a fall in her home resulting in her death.

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