Paradigm Shift: Terrorism

**EDITED**

It was brought to my attention that perhaps I was being too harsh toward Bostonians as a whole, that families would need to be protected, and that putting what I laid out into practice was impractical and foolhardy.  Upon re-reading what I wrote from the perspective of someone undergoing the manhunt in their neighborhood, I partially agree.  I decided to edit this entry as a result.

Perhaps we’re approaching terrorism all wrong in this country.

Boston in Lockdown for Manhunt

Watertown, Mass. Shut Down in Manhunt for Second Boston Marathon Suspect

Two men (actually one since the older brother was killed in a shootout with police) are effectively holding the entire city of Boston and surrounding suburbs effectively under siege.  That’s approximately 4.5 million people.  Based on the city’s annual GDP, shutting down the entire city for a day will cost the Greater Boston area approximately $850,000,000 in economic production. One man – 4.5 million citizens effectively under siege – nearly one billions dollars of economic productivity lost.  All in the name of public safety.

What you have to consider is how this looks from the outside though.  The city is effectively shut down.  The people, while talking bravely, are acting cowardly by remaining locked up in their homes.  The economic impact alone is tremendous.  The 26 and 19 year old brothers suspected of the marathon bombing and the younger one, still wanted and freely roaming the streets of Massachusetts, serve as an example of a successful terrorist attack.

The impact that they have had is broad and multifaceted.  They took life suddenly, maimed dozens, and traumatically wounded the Boston Marathon for years to come in the minds, if not the hearts, of many despite the rhetoric and chest-beating by many after the fact.  The success of an hardly technical attack directly under the noses of hundreds of Boston police officers and other various agencies and directorates responsible for expressly preventing such attacks.  It immediately highlighted our vulnerabilities.  Future terror attempts will note that airports, aircraft, and firearms were unnecessary to cause terror and lock up a city in fear – common every day items properly combined are just as useful.

The economic impact will be painful as well, although it won’t be as immediately felt.

These observations are being taken by those that aspire to reproduce the same effects.  The means may be different next time, but these two managed to tie up the resources of nearly the entire state of Massachusetts, the FBI, DHS, and who knows what other agencies with little investment on their part.

The next time, the attack could come in NYC, or LA, or Chicago, Cleveland, or any number of other big cities.  The same lockdown and search approach will only further embolden the next attack as the costs in terms of manpower and wealth grow and the fear is just as insidious for those near the attack, despite whatever assurances they give themselves in the aftermath that they will continue living their lives with no changes, as city leaders order them to remain inside under a self-imposed siege in order to deny the benefit of crowds and a busy city to the fugitive on the run.

This from a supposed nation of minutemen?  Massachusetts, the home of the Minuteman, of Lexington Green, of Concord and the opening shots of the American Revolution 238 years old this very day?  The strength of Bostonians in the aftermath of the tragedy on Monday is remarkable, but this mandated lockdown denies the police their biggest ally in the fight to capture or kill the fugitive terrorist – the observant and wary citizenry of the city itself.  Every Bostonian had a reason to want this man located and stopped and to force them to remain docile and “sheltered in place” not only removed them from the equation, but it started a clock for the fugitive as the lockdown could only last so long before it was lifted (which it was shortly after I originally published the first version of this article).

Imagine the message that would’ve been sent and received loud and clear if those same Bostonians had been allowed to respond as their forefathers did 238 years ago today.  The way you stop the next terror event is not by locking up the people for their own protection, but by encouraging an overwhelming show that there will not be a NEXT event because the spirit of the minuteman still beats within the chests of every Bostonian.  Every citizen should have been encouraged to arm themselves and go about their day as usual, protected by those very arms wherever they were, with the vigilance that comes with moving about while armed, and the ability to not only report a sighting of the fugitive, but the ability to provide for your own protection without needing the police to risk their own lives on your behalf.  At the very minimum, such a display would be of the people’s liberty teeth, not as a threat against one another, but as a demonstration for all future terrorists that ANY future attacks will not be met by a voluntary siege, but rather by return fire from any and all angles.

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

United States Constitution, Amendment II

That is the reason the Second Amendment was codified as second in the ten of the original Bill of Rights, so that the people are not reliant on benevolent police for their protection, but rather are able to provide for their own protection, so that terrorists and tyrants would forever know that their evil is not only unwelcome, but will be repelled and repulsed, not just by a select few, but by any and all of the citizenry.

Boston, I grieve for you.  I wish for your sake that your city leadership had encouraged you to help them beyond just staying out of their way and treating you as citizens – stakeholders in your city and state – rather than as subjects.

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