Print Story okay, so two guys walk into a hardware store
Diary
By the mariner (Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 09:59:39 PM EST) (all tags)
and buy the materials needed to shut down a major US city for a day. (though to be fair, they sprang for pressure cookers, so they may've had to open a macy's credit line too.)

is this where we are as a country now?



i'm continually astonished at the interaction between our bed wetting media and cravenness of our political class.

yes, there was a nonzero chance that a college student or an upper middle class woman walking her dog could be hit by a stray bullet in boston earlier today -- the same risk people on the south side of chicago have run everyday for decades -- and the sort of accountability the media extracts from today's politicians is such that if that had happened, the mayor would never be governor and the governor would never be senator.

how much does it cost to shut down a major US city for a day? billions, i imagine. apparently anyone who can qualify for a sears card has the resources to make this happen.

am i missing something here? is this really where we are?

how in the hell is this country supposed to survive at this rate?

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okay, so two guys walk into a hardware store | 41 comments (41 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
It's all bullshit. by dmg (4.00 / 1) #1 Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 10:17:08 PM EST
The political system is fucked, and your government is lying to you
--
dmg - HuSi's most dimwitted overprivileged user.
Boston? by gzt (4.00 / 1) #2 Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 11:05:50 PM EST
It's millions, not billions.

by my estimate, close to 1 billion. by the mariner (2.00 / 0) #3 Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 11:26:10 PM EST
but okay, less than i would've guessed.

[ Parent ]
Something seems wrong with the picture by anonimouse (2.00 / 0) #4 Sat Apr 20, 2013 at 02:52:02 AM EST
"Police said they exchanged gunfire with the suspect for about an hour before moving in and seizing him."

So there's one teenager (wounded) hiding under a boat, and it takes an hour  of gunfire exchange with the entire Boston police force on one side, and this teenager on the other?
I know it's a difficult job being a policeman, but I do wonder where this teenager got his inexhaustible supply of weapons and ammo whilst on the run?

It seems extremely weird that this pair would suddenly one day decide "Its a nice day to bomb the Marathon". A 19 and a 26 year old (who'd previously made statements about wanting to compete as a US citizen) seem suddenly to have gone totally postal.

The whole story seems a little disjointed at the moment. Maybe I should go and put on my aluminium tin-foil hat?


Girls come and go but a mortgage is for 25 years -- JtL
indeed. by the mariner (2.00 / 0) #5 Sat Apr 20, 2013 at 05:11:18 AM EST
police have jobs no more difficult or dangerous than plenty of other people. firefighters have a legitimately dangerous job and the attention they receive in the media is somewhat commensurate with the risk and service they provide to the public, not police. in general, though, the media does way too much backslapping and hyperventilating over these kinds of events, desperately trying to recapture the 9/11 moment -- that is, the moment the public forgot what a bunch of useless bloodsuckers the media are.

one wonders to what extent the media circus that surrounds such incidents is the causal factor. the story of a kid slowly bleeding out under a boat would be an uninspiring, perhaps cautionary tale to the nutbars who do this stuff, if not for the shutting down a city and wall to wall, 24 hour media coverage part.

[ Parent ]
It was more like ... by lm (2.00 / 0) #6 Sat Apr 20, 2013 at 08:45:26 AM EST
... exchanged gunfire for two minutes and then waited for an hour, trying to coax him into giving himself up before the hostage rescue team moved in to try to take him alive.

Or at least that's what it seemed like to me when watching the live reports.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
inexhaustible supply of weapons and ammo by jimgon (2.00 / 0) #12 Sat Apr 20, 2013 at 02:09:19 PM EST
Local sporting goods store.  This is America.  Even in Massachusetts it's pretty easy to get a gun license and unlimited amounts of ammo.




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Technician - "We can't even get decent physical health care. Mental health is like witchcraft here."
[ Parent ]
They weren't police by kwsNI (2.00 / 0) #29 Mon Apr 22, 2013 at 08:42:53 AM EST
They were storm troopers.  Only explanation for an hour long gun battle that I can come up with. 

[ Parent ]
In an American city by jimgon (2.00 / 0) #7 Sat Apr 20, 2013 at 09:01:40 AM EST
If you want to get men and material quickly from one section of the city to the other you need the streets cleared.  On a normal weekday it can take two hours to get from one end of Boston to the other.  It takes a half hour to get from the exit from the highway to the center of Watertown.  You want those roads clear of everything except essential travel.  And to do that you need to shut it down. 




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Technician - "We can't even get decent physical health care. Mental health is like witchcraft here."
true, never know when you'll need a tank by the mariner (2.00 / 0) #8 Sat Apr 20, 2013 at 11:28:29 AM EST
and when that time comes, you're not going to want wait two hours for it.

[ Parent ]
Or fifty cop cars or ambulances by jimgon (2.00 / 0) #10 Sat Apr 20, 2013 at 02:04:45 PM EST
across the city. 




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Technician - "We can't even get decent physical health care. Mental health is like witchcraft here."
[ Parent ]
wait a minute, by the mariner (4.00 / 1) #14 Sat Apr 20, 2013 at 02:56:17 PM EST
what if they used those flashing noise making things on top of their vehicles? you think they could make it across boston in less than two hours that way?

[ Parent ]
Ever been in rush hour traffic? by jimgon (2.00 / 0) #18 Sat Apr 20, 2013 at 06:20:01 PM EST
n/t




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Technician - "We can't even get decent physical health care. Mental health is like witchcraft here."
[ Parent ]
not with a siren, no. by the mariner (2.00 / 0) #22 Sat Apr 20, 2013 at 11:20:53 PM EST
but then, i didn't drop out of high school.

[ Parent ]
Or rush hour traffic in Watertown I assume by jimgon (2.00 / 0) #25 Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 07:41:51 AM EST
Sirens and flashy lights don't help when the traffic in front of you has no place to go.  You could drive on sidewalks I suppose if you could reach them, but the parked cars prevent that sort of thing.




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Technician - "We can't even get decent physical health care. Mental health is like witchcraft here."
[ Parent ]
huh, sounds dangerous. by the mariner (4.00 / 1) #27 Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 03:11:07 PM EST
makes you wonder what would happen if a kid was cornered under a boat during rush hour. since it might take up to a half an hour for backup to arrive, it might be prudent just to pull back.

with all the terrorism and shootings these days, i'd say it's time for a public discussion of whether letting people drive to and from work everyday is worth the security risk.

[ Parent ]
Plus about 100 violent deaths *per day* by ambrosen (4.00 / 1) #28 Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 06:50:45 PM EST
in the US alone caused by this unfettered access to so much poorly contained kinetic energy.

[ Parent ]
btw, by the mariner (4.00 / 1) #15 Sat Apr 20, 2013 at 03:03:50 PM EST
what if next time there are four nineteen year old kids under the boat? then they might need to get 200 police cruisers, ambulances, firetrucks, armored and machine gun mounted vehicles, etc. across town.

maybe they could do a new big dig so that the roads would be adequate to the task. kind of like how hitler built the autobahn to move military equipment quickly and efficiently for his war effort against the rest of europe. so for example if the tunnels had sixteen lanes instead of only four, with the roads cleared, we could imagine moving, say, 2000 armored swat vehicles, paddy wagons, and ambulances across boston in as little as 20 minutes -- boston would finally reach the standard of readiness that would be required if the tufts women's basketball team decided to take up arms against the government.

[ Parent ]
Zodiac (Neal Stephenson) lied to me? by wumpus (2.00 / 0) #9 Sat Apr 20, 2013 at 01:24:37 PM EST
My life is ruined!

Wumpus

Oddly enough, MIT (and thus Cambridge) appears to border the water (Charles River). Never mind the SWAT teams, bring on the Coast Guard! I guess he was just projecting one Bay Area (Oakland/San Jose/San Francisco) to another (Boston).

[ Parent ]
Even the duck boats by jimgon (2.00 / 0) #11 Sat Apr 20, 2013 at 02:06:23 PM EST
would still have to deal with traffic to actually get anywhere in Watertown.




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Technician - "We can't even get decent physical health care. Mental health is like witchcraft here."
[ Parent ]
I think you miss the point of it by ucblockhead (4.00 / 3) #13 Sat Apr 20, 2013 at 02:20:32 PM EST
We don't really have terrorism in this country.  Certainly not the sort where random bombs are going off at any time like in the middle east, the UK during the "troubles", etc.   To keep it that way, we need to make it look like a no-win game.  We need to make it look like anyone who does this sort of thing absolutely will get caught. 

The effort isn't in response to an attack that killed three.  The effort is to make sure that it stays rare.
---
[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman

what are you talking about? by the mariner (4.00 / 3) #16 Sat Apr 20, 2013 at 03:27:43 PM EST
so you think two "terrorists" who blow up a sporting event, leading to the shut down of a major city for a whole business day, commitment of hundreds of law enforcement officers to the scene of a kid slowly bleeding to death under a boat, surely costing society hundreds of millions of dollars "lost"?

i'm amazed you can look at this, thinking the government, law enforcement, and media response are commensurate with the actual threat posed and say with a straight face that someone else "misses the point." i guess you think over ten years in afghanistan and the iraq war, requiring visas for lay-overs in US airports, two hour lines in in airport security and customs, extraditing innocent canadians to jordan, torturing prisoners of war, etc. are proportionate responses to 9/11 as well.

the united states is a huge country with incredible resources at its disposal, but those resources are finite and, political hysterics aside, we are bleeding out in much the same as that kid under the boat was. 9/11, realistically, was a drop in the bucket -- what made it bad was the way the media and then the public lost its shit over it and the way politician failed to provide useful moral leadership, but instead exploited the weaknesses of the public for their own ambition. compared to 9/11, two kids with pipe bombs are nothing at all, yet we shut down a major US city on a business day, two of the best schools in the world, mobilize hundreds of law enforcement officers etc. all it takes is a gutter punk with a couple pipe bombs and the government will sink hundreds of millions of dollars into going after them. why? because we've become a nation of scared children and everything we see on tv tells us we're right to be and we should vote that way.

[ Parent ]
Well yeah by theboz (4.00 / 1) #17 Sat Apr 20, 2013 at 06:07:00 PM EST
We are a wimpy nation of people afraid of our own shadows.  I hope that changes one day, but pretty much we've thrown in the towel as a people.
- - - - -
That's what I always say about you, boz, you have a good memory for random facts about pussy. -- joh3n
I'm not seeing that. by ana (4.00 / 1) #20 Sat Apr 20, 2013 at 08:36:02 PM EST
All those people at the finish line who ran *toward* the bombs, to help people out? That, my friend, is courage.

It's very cheap, courage is, when you're armed. Running unarmed into a potential battle zone... That's courage. 

I now know what the noise that is usually spelled "lolwhut" sounds like. --Kellnerin

[ Parent ]
cheap courage, cheap sentimentality. by the mariner (3.33 / 3) #21 Sat Apr 20, 2013 at 11:19:03 PM EST
yes, and because we're invited by the media to engage in this cheap sentimentality about the courage of the handful of people who don't run for their lives, we too can share in that courage. we take pride seeing that everyone on camera is trying to help and imagine ourselves, our family, our neighbors, everyone we know in that shot, heroes without having to leave the house.

meanwhile, off camera, everyone runs crying -- natural enough, of course, and i don't fault anyone for it. but they're the rule, not the exception, as the cameras invite us to believe. so then we start in on how the perpetrators, people who are assured a hopeless death in the face of overwhelming force, are the cowards. they're crazy, no question, and the kind of courage that comes from being crazy isn't admirable, but how can we escape the conclusion this is just projection, what we tell ourselves so we feel better, what our leaders tell us in lieu of leading?

[ Parent ]
I'm referring to our leaders mostly by theboz (4.00 / 1) #24 Sat Apr 20, 2013 at 11:36:00 PM EST
First responders and people on the scene helping out are definitely heroic.  They had no idea if they would be caught in another explosion.  However, I do think the government overreacted and violated the Constitution in how they conducted themselves.  Now I see them ignoring the Constitutional rights of the asshole because they apparently have no respect for the rule of law.  To me, this is very much the slippery slope in action.  There is no reason to think these guys were part of some international terrorist organization anymore than the beltway snipers.  We all want to minimize deaths and injuries to the innocent, but I don't want to see government shortcuts that will be used against innocent people next.
- - - - -
That's what I always say about you, boz, you have a good memory for random facts about pussy. -- joh3n
[ Parent ]
The other thing by yankeehack (4.00 / 1) #19 Sat Apr 20, 2013 at 08:27:44 PM EST
is that the brothers were out and about the night before and the authorities had no idea if they a)might have had other IEDs/bombs planted out there, maybe some with timers, b)if there are others in their plot and c)how desperate the younger brother really was (there was a bomb timer found on older brother at the morgue, the fear was that the younger one had a suicide vest on or somesuch).

What these fuckers did is, so far, unprecedented in the US. I hope to God it stays that way and thank God no one else died. It was tragic enough to have four deaths and numerous lives horribly changed forever because of these cowardly fuckers.

Noting all of this, I don't think many Bostonians minded being home on Friday, and for those not exactly in the line of fire, they were able to go out, albeit with caution during "martial law". It was more like a blizzard...except for those poor people in Watertown.
"...she dares to indulge in the secret sport. You can't be a MILF with the F, at least in part because the M is predicated upon it."-CBB

i hope you don't believe that. by the mariner (4.00 / 1) #23 Sat Apr 20, 2013 at 11:27:14 PM EST
<quote>What these fuckers did is, so far, unprecedented in the US. I hope to God it stays that way and thank God no one else died. It was tragic enough to have four deaths and numerous lives horribly changed forever because of these cowardly fuckers.</quote>

see, etc. what part of this is unprecedented? bombing a marathon in boston? this is actually not a particularly big attack in the context of the long history of the US.

[ Parent ]
Dude, I don't know how to break this to you... by ObviousTroll (2.00 / 0) #26 Sun Apr 21, 2013 at 01:07:48 PM EST
but I know how to cause massive electrical blackouts that would last months. 

All I need is a 22, a car and driver and a couple of days. 

The biggest problem I would face is that after I hit the first couple of sub stations the cops would probably be able to predict where I was going and get there ahead of me.


An Angry and Flatulent Pig, Trying to Tie Balloon Animals
He's trying really hard by wiredog (2.00 / 0) #30 Mon Apr 22, 2013 at 09:57:06 AM EST
to not listen to anyone.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

[ Parent ]
I guess I shouldn't mention by ObviousTroll (4.00 / 1) #31 Mon Apr 22, 2013 at 10:42:23 AM EST
the recipe for making napalm out of furniture cushions and gasoline. 

An Angry and Flatulent Pig, Trying to Tie Balloon Animals
[ Parent ]
When I was in high school, in the early 80's by wiredog (4.00 / 3) #35 Mon Apr 22, 2013 at 01:22:32 PM EST
There was a chem teacher who had a classroom full of unruly boys, and a field of stumps that needed clearing. He taught us how to make plastic explosive (the recipe featured in Terminator) and took us out to the field where we spent a day digging stumps, wrapping them in explosive, and blowing them up. Educational and productive.

Today he'd go to Gitmo for that.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

[ Parent ]
break it to who? by the mariner (2.00 / 0) #33 Mon Apr 22, 2013 at 12:23:03 PM EST
this my whole point. any high school drop-out can cause this kind of trouble and if this is the government and media response, it's a short slide to total collapse.

[ Parent ]
have you read the DFW musing... by gzt (2.00 / 0) #32 Mon Apr 22, 2013 at 11:07:57 AM EST
...posing the thought experiment that perhaps a baseline level of terrorism and crime is the tradeoff for a free society and what it would be like if we acknowledged and accepted this?

it seems to me "gun rights" advocates should be the biggest fans of this line of reasoning and make it explicit, but they don't, in my experience. eg, they don't specifically say that holmes in aurora is the cost of our freedom that we should willingly pay.

i always thought this was commonsense by the mariner (2.00 / 0) #34 Mon Apr 22, 2013 at 12:33:43 PM EST
and that every sensible person knew a certain background level of crime and mayhem is unavoidable and that basic freedoms common to western democracies make that level a bit higher than it is in, say, china. i wasn't aware of anything DFW wrote on this (not a particular fan and didn't run across it randomly).

yeah, probably gun rights advocates should be, as it plays well with their shooting range theory of public life, but really everyone should be big fans of this line of reasoning. it's the acceptance of this kind of reasoning that stands between us and totalitarianism.

[ Parent ]
DFW note by gzt (2.00 / 0) #40 Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 08:31:40 PM EST
right, there was an 'american idea' issue or sth. by the mariner (2.00 / 0) #41 Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 12:21:03 AM EST
i vaguely remember that. but yeah, if you strip away the silliness about martyrdom, that's the right general idea, imo.

[ Parent ]
well they're thinking it by MillMan (2.00 / 0) #36 Mon Apr 22, 2013 at 03:38:45 PM EST
but PR is the medium of communication in this world.

"Just as there are no atheists in foxholes, there are no libertarians in financial crises." -Krugman

[ Parent ]
We're dealing with terrorists, not Lex Luthor by lm (4.00 / 2) #37 Mon Apr 22, 2013 at 10:03:52 PM EST
Seriously, if the 9/11 crew had wanted to maximize economic damage to the US, I can think of half a dozen targets that would have done far worse to the US economy than the World Trade Center.

But inflicting economic damage was not their primary goal. Rather they wanted to hit what was, for them, a symbol of US global dominance. It's more about the local politics in various nations abroad than it is about the US per se.

The universe of people that want to inflict actual harm to the US as their primary goal and have the requisite skills and knowledge to pull such a feat off is quite small. For the most part, people that have the latter either lack any reason to do the former or realize that doing so would utterly screw themselves hard in the corybungus.

Keep in mind that terrorism, by definition, is not traditional warfare in which the objective is win a war. Rather, it is the attempt to use a particular sort of violence to persuade the powers that be to change a particular course of action. If nothing else, events like what happened in Boston illustrate that terrorism is unlikely to have any affect on US policy. If anything, such attacks cement the resolve of the US to stay the course.

Now, if the US were engage in a hot war, or even a cold war, with an enemy that wanted to inflict severe damage, we could have a nice discussion about that if you like. But that is really another topic of discussion all together.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
wow. by the mariner (2.00 / 0) #38 Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 01:38:17 AM EST
wtf is this?

did you click the wrong post/reply link?

[ Parent ]
lol, what? by lm (2.00 / 0) #39 Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 07:24:51 PM EST
Maybe I misunderstood you. I thought you were talking about how the ease of shutting down a city would inspire more terrorists because said folk are now aware of how inexpensive it is to provoke a costly reaction.

I apologize if you do not see the connection between that and what I wrote. I thought it was fairly straightforward.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
okay, so two guys walk into a hardware store | 41 comments (41 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback