Last weeks events in Boston show the importance of critical thinking and asking questions. We need to ask whether the end justified the means. The outcome was almost the best that could have been expected after the tragic murder of three people by bombs at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.
Whilst I am happy that a good end was achieved, I have concerns about the means to achieve it, and I do not mean that the terrorists were killed or injured, they deserved their fates.
The law enforcement authorities did an excellent job by killing one of the Boston bombers and capturing the other within a few days of the blasts. They also prevented further casualties amongst the population, but at what cost?
Readers will be aware that I have a distrust of big government, no doubt heightened by what has happened to me, my family and the two countries I called home for most of my life. Even discounting my personal bias, the events that unfolded in Boston are disturbing and raise serious questions.
From media reports (and I watched very few) it seems as if residents of a large part of the city were “ordered” to stay in their homes. Almost the entire city was in “lockdown”. That sounds like Martial Law to me. It also sounds very much like the actions of Hitler’s storm troopers in the 1930’s before WW2.
I am not an expert on the US or any other constitution, but I do know that declarations of Martial Law in democracies are rare events and never taken lightly. I also believe that such declarations are the domain of Presidents or Prime Ministers, parliaments, or other national governing bodies, not law enforcement agencies.
Other than from a scarce few right wing commentators, adverse comment on the events in Boston have been conspicuous by their absence. I may have missed them, but I have not seen any complaints from civil liberties groups or in the liberal media, particularly blogs like Huffington Post which are so eager to point the finger at any suspicion of right wing activity.
Could it be that because most of the inconvenience occurred on a Friday, the campaign ended successfully and the extent that the tragedy was elevated in the media to almost the level of 9/11 that the sinister side of unofficial Martial Law was overlooked?
Or could it be that all those who normally complain about “infringement of rights” are already in favour of more government control over everyone’s lives and are happy with tactics such as these?
Or is it yet more evidence of the Pendulum theory – in a “We” cycle, individual rights can be trampled in the name of a perceived common benefit?
Whatever the reasons, in the context of terrorism around the world, as tragic as it was for the victims and families in Boston, this was not anywhere near the level of a 9/11, London transit system bombing or shooting down of civilian aircraft.
What would have happened if other major, perhaps unrelated, violent incidents involving terrorists, criminals or the mentally deranged had occurred in other big American cities in the same few days? Would their residents have been “ordered” to stay in their homes and their cities “locked down”. What cost to the economy then?
It appears that the whereabouts of the second bomber was noticed by a member of the public who alerted the authorities. Was it just through luck that he spotted blood on his boat or because he was looking out for himself and not just trusting those that “ordered” him to stay inside?
One terrorist is dead and the other captured, unarguably a better end to the tragedy than if one or both had escaped, but the media attention, alarm and inconvenience to thousands has multiplied the effects of the original terrorist act exponentially.
I am not against the use of massive force to neutralise the bad guys. I have been critical that the police have been too reluctant to use the necessary force to stop rioting mobs in cities like Vancouver, London and elsewhere, with ordinary, law abiding people suffering personal injury and property damage as a result of that reluctance.
Contrast the speed with which the authorities inconvenienced thousands of law-abiding residents in Boston with the wimpish reluctance to take action against those involved in the “Occupy” movements last year. Despite widespread criminal acts, blocking traffic, drug use, trespassing on private property and allegedly, murder & rape.
The “ordering” of thousands of people to stay at home, ignoring the demands of jobs, businesses, customers, clients, perhaps elderly relatives needing assistance without a lawful declaration of Martial Law does worry me. I have experienced at bitter cost what happens when governments and government officials believe they have a divine right to act outside the law.
Another huge reason to question everything and think for ourselves before blindly following the media-driven herd.
What do you think?
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photo by Andrey Korchagin via Compfight