Thoughts After The Marathon Terrorist Attack

Put Your Musket Away – Big Brother Is Here To Protect You

Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev is in custody. There is much fodder for others to write about over the coming days concerning the actions taken by the Government officials and police during the chase. Was it wise to tell a million or more people they had to “shelter in place,” a new term to me? How was Dzhokhar’s flight endangering the people of West Roxbury or Newton?  How does this show our refusal to be terrorized when a chase after a very dangerous 19-year-old person puts a city out of action?

The enormous response by the law enforcement to the Marathon Terrorist Attack (MTA) using military-type vehicles and dressed as if in combat was eye-opening. The parade of ten or more heavily armed officers walking up the steps of a two-decker house chasing the residents out was strange to see as was five or more men in black suits with AK-47s leaning against cars bracing themselves as if a horde was coming over the roof tops. How explain the inability as Ernie points out to find the fiend hiding in a boat in the middle of the search area. Whether all this was necessary or whether major mistakes were made I leave to others.

My thoughts turned in different directions. I remembered that quaint document that suggested these government forces, those that shut down the city and those that sent out the armies of police, derive “their just powers from the consent of the governed,” I thought how upwards of 90% of Americans want some action taken in light of the terrorist attack that happened in Newtown. Not much, just something like knowing who is selling guns to whom — background checks. Our Government did not respond to the cry of the governed. It preferred to be cowered by a small minority of moneyed people. It told us we know what we can do with our concerns.

I suppose we Americans, would be “disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable.” But assume as seems more and more likely the Government continues to ignore the people and is mostly concerned with only a chosen few and runs itself to benefit those people.  Suppose “a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same”  desire to ignore the wishes of the people continues.

I’ve been taught  “it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish”  our government. That is not only our “right, it is [our] duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

I learned all the items I’ve placed in bold above from the Declaration of Independence. I though of those words as I watched the massive display of police power that included few if any of our military. I thought of those words when I considered how easily it was for a governor to tell people they must stay in their homes. I considered them seeing a picture of a normally busy city street all but deserted.

I pondered our inability to do anything if our Government continues to amass great power and to ignore the wishes of the people.  No one, or group of people, can stand up to that power. It is a little frightening to realize if we lose our voice we are powerless to do anything about it. We no longer have on the civilian side men like those who dragged cannons from Fort Ticonderoga to Dorchester Heights.

Which brings me to that other quaint document that reads: “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.”

That’s the Second Amendment. When it was written many of the same people who wrote the Declaration of Independence had a role in composing the language. They believed allowing people to possess arms was necessary for the people to be able to defend against hostile forces both foreign or domestic. They also believed they were necessary if a Tyrant arose, a person or group “unfit to be the ruler of a free people” took power.  They wanted to insure the governed could act against those who governed them.

I’ve sensed the futility of that belief but witnessing the happenings after the MTA I felt it to the core. We, the people, although in theory still having the right to overthrown our government if it becomes tyrannical, we have in reality no such ability to do this. Nor are we capable of repelling a foreign or domestic enemy.

The Second Amendment is thus a relic of times gone by. Pretending it has a modern-day purpose is like pretending we can protect ourselves against random acts of terror or that there will be an end to the War On Terror.

29 thoughts on “Thoughts After The Marathon Terrorist Attack

  1. Mtc9393, I have a really super dumb question segueing back to all things Mr. Bulger – when Boston was under Martial Law looking for the Marathon Mass Murderers was the Moakley open? I heard about the evac earlier inn the week but did they shut it down during the Watertown Manhunt? In other words,did the hearing on immunity take place on the 19th as planned? Or was Moakley closed too and they postponed the hearing – and if so, when? I am sure I just missed the news on that with my attention being diverted elsewhere and I’ve tried Googling it and can’t find anything on it, so I figured I would go to you knowing you would be on top of it far better than the reporters (I wonder if FOX News will allow that journalist Kelly the one that you mentioned grilled a former FBI guy to be a Fox employee for much longer. Keep an eye on her career…she will probably soon get a “plumb” job working for PBS.)

    1. Alex:
      Good question. I’ve let Whitey sort of slip since the Marathon Terrorist Attack. You know as much as I do at this moment. We’ll catch up soon enough.

      Yes, the Kelly woman seems to be a little too independent for Fox News or any Network station. She asks hard questions. She better be careful not to do that again especially to a former FBI higher up.

  2. Your bold statements placed in bold type evoke

    The people will waken and listen to hear
    The hurrying hoof beats of that steed,
    And the midnight message of Paul Revere.

    Our polity continues inexorably to lose reverence for the American Creed and its rituals and to surrender to crass commercialization and the dumbing down of the up and coming citizenry.

    Patriot’s Day should be a national symbol.

    1. Hopalong:
      You re right about the importance of Patriot’s Day. We should recall that Patriots were average citizens, like the people who were standing at the Marathon race, who came out to fight against the most powerful force on earth at that time, the British Army with its Hessian Allies. I’ve read it was a minority of our population who supported the Patriots. The same percentage supported the powers-that-be the British, and the majority found comfort in hedging their bets by remaining neutral. So much the more honor must go to those men and women who saw a better country and a better future under their own guidance. How many people growing up today know about those values these people held and the hardships they suffered to bring this country to life. Now it seems no one has to bear any hardship or suffer any deprivation. The majority attitude seems to be what can the country do for me and whatever it is it is not enough. I exclude from that the people who enter into our Armed services who still embody that colonial toughness.

      1. Matt, also include the people who volunteer for the Peace Corps, and the doctors/nurses who work out of a sense of duty/love/service, and not for the Almighty Buck! Lots of good teachers, police, firemen, business guys too who sacrifice blood, sweat and tears for their fellows and the community. I see a lot of hope in the young people, even though they’re way more burdened than we were; burdened with info, distractions, easy availability of drugs, diversions etc. I still see many studying hard who want to go into medicine, nursing, peace corps, environment, veterinary medicine, the arts and sciences, music or who want to change things in business, to elevate consciences and consciousness. They’re climbing a mountain, and many malefactors on top aren’t helping!

  3. “I pondered our inability to do anything if our Government continues to amass great power and to ignore the wishes of the people. No one, or group of people, can stand up to that power.” Essentially, you are asking today what Euripedes asked centuries ago in another place and time. To paraphrase, he said, “Where to week seek justice when the injustice of power is our destruction”.

    Your comments today should be food for thought for all of US. Although the Patriot Day bombers appear to have been swiftly dealt with, what happens when the Government gets it wrong?

    For example, Fox News has been reporting that a foreign government had suspicions about the older brother of the Patriot Day bombers back in 2010. It filed a formal complaint to US DOJ and FBI for a review. The review was completed in a few months after a personal interview was held with the older brother.

    The response, Fox News tells us, back to the unknown foreign government was that US would take no action, but if more information were to be developed it would take a second look. By the time more information began to develop after the pictures of the suspected Patriot Day bombers were shown to the public, the suspected terrorist had already acted. The results were that three US Citizens were dead and hundreds maimed and traumatized for life. Drastic actions then needed to be taken in the following days to ensure that there were no more deaths, but even then one MIT policeman was killed, and another officer is still in critical condition.

    One can argue that mistakes are made. And, that is just the point. A government is only as good as the people that have put it in power. So the necessity of checks and balances was a brillant idea. But now it appears to in jeopardy of being eroded. The average citizen’s voice is no longer heard above the roar of the Corporate Lobbyists. Who as we just found out from US DOJ were for the most part too big to prosecute. And, that brings me to my family’s personal situation.

    In our case, we were put into a situation where I was perceived to have committed an environmental terrorist act on September 11, 1997. Allegely on our own property that caused our own business to be ruined. In our case, the US allowed the State of New Hampshire to take jurisdiction, and “police its own environmental problems”, although the matter was clearly a Federal one.

    Considering the size of New Hampshire it does not take much to imagine that very powerful and influential people were able to bribe the State into taking my family’s property with NO due process. And, then instead of prosecuting me, the State had me judged, again without due process, to be ‘not competent’ to stand trial. Case closed. NO Witess = No Case.

    So the question for US going forward is whether the citizens of the great US OF A, wish to continue losing its voice to the well connected and well funded: A ‘crony’ democracy so to speak. This was the situation in Euripedes day when he asked his now famous question, in 400 BC. Isn’t it about time this question was answered. Since I no longer have a legal voice, or property, and I have been deprived of my Social Security Benefits to include Medicare, and other constitutional rights since the Patriot Act was enabled in 2001, I have to depend on my family and other citizens to use their First Amendment Rights to Free Speech to allow my writings to be read. And, for this opportunity, I thank you again, Matt.

    1. Jean:
      I didn’t know you weren’t allowed in our country. That’s pretty sad the Government could do that to you. Having just written about the Soviets, it reminded me that they were pretty good at putting people in hospitals for the mental ill and washing them out of society. The problems we have is no one is able to look into the FBI files to see what it is hiding or what it is involved in doing. On May 1, 1972 Hoover had maintained that secrecy for 48 years and it now 40 years later and the secrets are still there. I’m sure you’ve done it but in case you haven’t you may want to file freedom of information request with respect to yourself with the FBI and also the NH authorities.

      1. Thank you for your response, Matt. I have filed FOIAs with both NH and US DOJ. I think my requests to US DOJ prompted the OIG of US DOJ to refer my complaints to criminal division in August 2009. As of this writing I have had no response from the Criminal Division, or even an interview like the older of the Patriot Day bombers. BTW I did find that the FBI had filed my fingerprints as a 5 foot 8 inch white male. I am female, and an inch shorter.

        Dick Tracy, from the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office has informed me that they do not have the resources to investigate my complaints. I have recently written to the recently elected governor to request that she allocate resources and appoint an independent investigator. I filed that request in January, 2013, but to date I have had no response. I sent her a follow up request a few days ago.

        Both correspondence are posted on My family has chosen to speak through our correspondences, which we are also posting on due to the fact that we have found both the Federal and New Hampshire files have been shredded or otherwise purged. A perfect example is the autopsy report from the State of New Hampshire with respect to the suspicious death and disappearance of my mother Agnes S. Allan. After years of trying I was sent an autopsy of a woman who clearly was not my mother. That experience can be found in Chapter #11, a Daughter’s Promise, which I made to my mother to catch those who killed her and have them brought to justice. But, then I have learned the concept of Too Big To Prosecute.

        The posted information is mostly contained on in the High Birches files, and under my name. You may be interested in the fact that we do have a global readership. Some cross over readers from your site; and, lots of lawyers and banks too.

        My guess is that the banks are hiring lawyers to review the title of the High Birches Water Supply & Distribution System that was stolen from my family. Perhaps the Too Big to Prosecute folks didn’t tell the bankers that their collateral was stolen. If we should get justice, and that’s a big IF, it will come from the fact that the illegal foreclosures were just that illegal, and therefore all null and void.

        The downside of this good news is that terminal incapacitation is an option for those Too Big To Prosecute. Rather extreme concept, but then I am living the promised Kafka nightmare already delivered by the TBTP messengers. I have learned that the ‘incapacitation’ playbook has many chapters..and then the END.

        1. Jean, I reviewed some of the materials on your website as well as the posted documents there relating to the Chief Forensic Examiner’s determination of your competency; it appears that the motion for this evaluation was filed by your own defense attorney at the time, according to the narrative. Did you pursue any action against your attorney for filing this motion? If the competency determination was detrimental to your case, it would seem that it was initiated by your attorney at the time. If you feel that this was wrongful, I am curious to know what role your defense attorney played after this determination was made. Needless to say, I wish you the best of luck with your correspondence to the New Hampshire Governor. Sincerely, Jay

          1. Jay – if you read the Intro to No Witness = NoCase you know that the lawyer was a public defender. I was not aware that he intended to file a not competent motion. After I was released from 3 days of solitary confinement for allegedly trespassing on property that my family owned since 1978 , I met the PD for only a few minutes just before my arraignment May, 2009. I pleaded not guilty, and was released on $10,000 bail but I didn’t have to post a bond. My family was concerned for my safety, so I left the state. I was expecting a trial and met with the PD a few days prior to scheduled trial June, 2009. I had been emailing him information that he had requested. At day of trial I found that the PD had filed the not competent motion and the judge had granted the motion.

            As it turns out the psychiatrist that I was due to meet with turned up dead while on holiday in North Carolina. After several delays I met with the Dr who wrote the diagnosis. If you have read the diagnosis, you will know why I have been participating on this site. In the main I have been found to be a delusional psychotic for my suspicions that the FBI has been protecting persons whom I have reason to believe we’re TE agents of government. I lay out my argument in the case study that I filed with the OIGs of the SEC and US DOJ, among other documents. I gave this case study file to the PD. I was unaware what communications he had with the Forensic Examiner until I filed a request a year later for my files so that I could file a complaint.

            As you can tell, our situation has several complex constitional due process issues that require an independent investigation. But, since the USDOJ’s refusal to grant the Request of AUSA from Organized Crime Task Force in USA v Rennert in which I was a witness for the prosecution once it became clear to the Task Force that I was a victim and not a suspect in March 1997, my family’s experience with the USDOJ and the State of New Hampshire’s justice systems have been Kafkaesque.

            The criminal tresspass trial date was reset to October 13, 2009. The alleged non competent diagnosis was faxed to the court 20 minutes prior to the time the trial was to begin. I did not even learn of the diagnosis until I was told that the prosecutor decided not to prosecute because I was not competent. The advice I got from the public defender when he finally gave me the diagnosis was to keep quiet and leave the state. I took his advice. My family was, and still is concerned that Mr. Iuele’s warning that I am in harms way has proven prescient. I left the country.

            About a year later I was notified that another hearing was to take place to determine whether I could be restored to competency. And, again without due process, the court determined that I was not restorable.

            Also during this time, I had applied to the FBI to assist me with an issue of stolen identity. I was informed by a reliable source that my social security number had been used in drug related crime that would subject my assets to forfeiture. As of this writing no one from FBI has ever contacted me. Therefore, I have had no social security number or ability to claim my social security benefits. I was informed that FBI has sole jurisdiction. As you can see from all the open letter to USDOJ Criminal Division, I have not given up my quest for justice. But, as this blog makes very clear when one becomes a Person Out Of Favor with the Homeland, their lives become living nightmares. Thank you for caring to understand that these things really do happen to average citizens who own property that the TBTP covet. There are plenty of rights written on paper documents, but no real remedies available to get JUSTICE.

        2. Jean:
          Your situation is well described in the Trial by Kafka. I’ve told you before that you are up against a formidable foe.

  4. I just wanted to point out that Russia has been a target of terrorist attacks led by Chechen separatists in the past so it is not a mere distrust, it is a hypervigilance due to past events.

    Not to dismiss whatever separatists concerns or the treatment of Chechens leading to calls for independence, but acts of terrorism became an attempted bargaining tool, albeit a failed one. Many may recall the movie theater hostage crisis in 2002 which was controversial in its tragic end, where many hostages allegedly died due to the gas used by Russian law enforcement during a takedown of the perpetrators. See, e.g. Tony Karon, Behind the Moscow Theater Siege, Time Magazine, October 25, 2002. Retrieved from,8599,383909,00.html.

    That is very interesting that Russian security possibly assisted with this investigation.

    1. Jay:
      It’s good to remember the Chechens and Russians are at war. After the collapse of the Soviet Union around 1990 many of the “stans” (Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan) which were Muslim countries gained their independence like the nations of Ukraine and Georgia. The Russians since that time have exerted much influence in those countries especially the latter three stans so that their independence is more fiction than fact.
      The people of Chechnya seeing their Muslim brothers in the stans freed and still suffering under the heel of a non Muslim nation sought freedom. There were the notorious school house attack near Georgia and the theater bombing in Moscow that you mentioned that were carried out by the Chechens. The more the Chechens fought the greater the oppression became. It was Putin’s willingness to crush it that made him a hero in Russia where many yearned for the old times of the Soviet Empire.
      It is in Russia’s interest to do whatever it can do to keep the Chechens under control. We must be careful not to become its partner in its brutal suppression of the Chechen people. It would love to suck us in. Two Chechen terrorists should not make us join hands with the undemocratic Putin. We’re fighting enough Muslims without adding to our plate.
      I’m at a loss as to what help the Russians gave us. We solved this on our own. Russian may now offer us help to track down the movements of the older brother but even then we probably should suspect any information the Russians supply us. They are anxious to get our money, equipment and manpower to help them. We should be most unwilling to give it to them. Chechnya is Russia’s problem, not ours.

  5. The family still living in Russia is going to be very careful what they say about this. They have to live there and Russians are very distrustful of Chechnyans. Russian security helped the US in all of this, according to reports, even though the White House refused to say just what help:


    Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his older brother Tamerlan, who was killed Thursday night, were of Chechnyan ethnicity but hailed from the Russian region of Dagestan and spent several years living in Kyrgyzstan. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev became a naturalized American citizen on Sept. 11, 2012.

    1. Henry:
      Absolutely correct. Not only the family has to be careful what it says to the authorities in Russia but we have to be careful with what they tell us. It’s even more difficult to know what is going on in Russian than it is to know what the FBI is doing. The younger brother seemed to have been culturally an American.How he went off the deep end is something that bewilders me. How he can turn against the people of the country that gave his family refuge I don’t understand. Where are the feelings of gratitude. You know if he’d been drafted into the Army as kids like him used to be this probably never would have happened. I’d like to know what is taught in the Cambridge High Schools about America. Is it the version where we really are the Great Satan? A lot of things have to be considered here. I just hope we get a chance to hear from the kid without the FBI telling us the story it wants to put out.

        1. Ernie:

          It’s a natural. Where else could terrorism come from in Howie Carr’s world than the teachings of those in the high school of the People’s Republic of Cambridge. The word Howie uses for left wingers and suburbanites escapes me know but we’ll get our fill of his ranting over that. Maybe he’ll write a book, “Cambridge Teachers.” Sub titled: “How They Corrupted The Children Of Cambridge For A Quarter of a Century.” That’d be followed by the book by O’Neill and Lehr, “Black Mass Avenue” Sub titled:“The Cambridge Teachers and The Terrorist Deal.” I just can’t wait.

          1. Black Mass Avenue…haha… Don’t forget about the likely sequel for _Cambridge Teachers_ to be styled as followed: _Spacemen: The Untold Story of Cambridge Teachers: Cambridge Latin’s Enforcers and the Most Feared Martians in the Upperworld_

            1. Jay:
              We can expect that sequel but I didn’t mention it because it won’t be out until next year, just before the start of the trial.

  6. This CNN story quotes the Tsarnaev family as saying the FBI contacts with their family were a lot more extensive than a single interview. The FBI had been checking on Tamerlan for 3-5 years and was in contact with him just 6 months ago! It makes me wonder now if the FBI tried to pressure the Tsarnaev brothers to become informants against their cause. That tactic is foreseeable. It may also explain the brothers’ motivations.

    CNN: The suspects’ parents told Russian state media that the FBI had been speaking with their sons.
    “FBI came to them two or three times, asking ‘Are you Chechens? Is anyone harassing you?’ Why would anyone offend us? Then they came again. Said they wanted to talk to Tamerlan. We didn’t know what was going on, didn’t know whether he had done something. But they were saying, ‘Oh, it’s nothing, it’s just routine.’ They talked to us at our home,” father Anzor Tsarnaev told the state-run RIA Novosti news agency. “I heard myself that they (the FBI) said: ‘We know that you read, what you drink, what you eat, where you go.’ And then they added that that’s routine practice to prevent bombings on the streets of Boston, so that our kids can go to school in peace. This conversation happened half a year ago. But I keep asking, why did they have to talk to him about that then?”
    Mother Zubeidat Tsarnaeva told Russia Today that the FBI had been checking on Tamerlan for three to five years.
    “They knew what he was doing, what sites he was visiting. They followed his every move, yet today they say this is a terrorist act,” she said. “The FBI was afraid of my eldest son because he was a leader, could stand up for himself, and talked about Islam a lot. Once they officially called me and told me that they don’t doubt his decency. But at the same time they said he gets information from extremists’ sites and that they are very afraid of him.”

    1. Patty:
      Megan Kelly, I think that’s who it is on Fox News, was interviewing Steve Pomerantz who rose from a field investigative Special Agent to the rank of Assistant Director, the third highest position in the FBI. He’s the former counter-terrorist leader in the FBI. He’s spouting off all the usual stuff about how the FBI did a banged up job. Kelly said, “Let me ask you this. The mother of the Tsarnaev’s say the FBI had visited her son several times and even spoke with her. The FBI admits to having contact with him. Why didn’t the night of the bombing the FBI put together a list of all the potential terrorists in the Boston area and as soon as they had the guys picture figured out who he was.” She was asking a similar question I had just asked my daughter, “if the FBI knew of this guy and he had been interviewed by Boston agents, why wasn’t he identified by one of those agents as soon as his picture popped.”

      Or why is the FBI putting out his picture in public when it should know within house who he is.

      Pomrantz said after a brief pause facing the right question answered: “I don’t know.” Kelly pressed him quite impressively but he had no come back. He finally lamely said the people must be patient and this will come out over time. Yeah, I thought. After the FBI washed all its files and changed things. It’s terrible to have such distrust in that organization but the closer we see it the more poorly it appears to be serving the people.

      White the crowds sing the National Anthem and shout: USA,USA, what was accomplished here may not be anything to be proud about after all. The whole thing is strange. We’ll never know the truth because no one dares call the FBI on its troubles.

      1. Matt, Patty, et al: I demand of my government to know the indentiy of every “suspect” who was in the area of the bombing on the day of the atrocity and on the two or three days previously; and new suspects who’ve come to light since (innocent or not). Great planning went into this atrocity. (By the way, Henry Barth posted a link about the extensive network involved in this atrocity, and that link has been taken down.) I sat beside the guy in the NY POST picture in Starbucks on Saturday, two days before the bombings. He was covering his face with a grey hoodie. He and his “girlfriend” were acting suspiciously. I reported this on Tuesday to the FBI. On Marathon Monday, he stood beside that guy with the green shirt in the NY POst Picture. I’m 100% certain with a 99% degree of certainty that that guy was the one I sat beside. Who is he? Who are they? Don’t we have a right to know? I don’t care if they are innocent or not! Who are these people? Clue us in! It’s our government, not the FBI’s. THe FBI, Army, Navy, CIA are public servants. Clue us in! Let us know! Serve us! Stop concealing stuff from us. Forewarned is fore-armed! Shed light on this stuff. Stop spreading propaganda, disinformation and misdirection to We the People! The FEDs sometimes treat us like we’re children, and they’re Big Brother! They’re are peers, not our superiors; in fact, they’re our inferiors; they’re our servants; that’s what public servant means! Serve us! Don’t betray, backstab, mislead or treat us like dunces! We, the average Joes, are smarter than you fat cat bureaucrats! Admit it, you jackasses. Your not better than us. You’re average citizens. Stop concealing vital stuff from us! The Truth will out! Fill us in, or hit the road! Don’t like public service? Quit! P.S. Bravo and gratitude to all the great public servants who risked and gave their lives to defend, treat, save, guide, and direct us over the last week. Kudos to the best of the best! The bravehearts! Cops, nurses, doctors, fire & rescue; & average Joes and Janes who stepped up to the plate adn gave it their best! Nice going, amid all the hellish chaos. Good work! Bravo!

        1. Bill:
          Henry Barth’s comment was not taken down. None of his comments ever were. I’ve only taken down comments from Jan naming people I don’t know and from Bob Fitz once when my response may have made me uncomfortable and have edited some others.
          You may demand all you want of our public servants but they’ll respond if they want. We’re still waiting to hear why suspected Mafia murderer Rossetti was a top echelon informant. It has been 20 months since the FBI began figuring out that one. Odds are good they’ll be working on this when the Marathon is being run for the 135th time.

  7. Dear Matt,

    This is a first, I believe, where I appear to be the first to comment. I’ll chime in with a few thoughts.

    The first is that it seems that people forget that the government is not a distant entity and that instead those on law enforcement are the same fathers and sisters, brothers and mothers, sons and daughters who are merely fulfilling a role. Perhaps the concept of Government as the Other finds its roots to Thomas Hobbes and the Leviathan. Remember that premise — the social contract; when people give up certain rights in exchange for protection? Yet like any contract, it is merely an idea — a social construct which we materialize merely by respecting it, by legitimizing it with action. Isn’t that how the law works also — they are words on paper which mean little more if they are not enforced; they are not tangible things. What is tangible is the space around them — how individuals and masses of individuals choose to respect or ignore these. The same can be said of the Second Amendment; they are words on paper, yet the point of contention is what exactly those words MEAN. The words from a constitutional law lecture once come to mind, in which the speaker proclaimed how constitutional law is really about constitutional interpretation; it isn’t about the law, it’s about what the law is supposed to mean. And that meaning is always changing from judge to judge, and from precedent to President. What I’m trying to articulate is that those law enforcement forces, our President, Governor Patrick, and all other public sector forces are a part of “We the People” too; they come from us and from our ranks, and the day they retire from public service they remain a part of “We the People.” I don’t think that ever changes; they our the products of our system of ideas and even when they cease to be an instrumentality of it, they remain a part of the larger system of ideas, ideals, and historical traditions from which our Government is borne. What I’m trying to say is that it is not “Us and Them,” that for better or for worse, these government forces, elected, appointed, and civil service alike, are also private citizens which carries importance as well. They are not faceless drones. In your own writings, you have pointed out John Connolly’s private accomplishments as a father with successful, professional children who grew up to be college educated leaders and role models in the larger society.

    Second, while I will not comment directly on the necessity of the Second Amendment, I comment on your statements about how public opinion was trumped by lobbyists from the gun industry. We must not forget that, while our duly elected representatives may not have been swayed by public opinion, that the public shall have its day on Election day in 2013 and 2014 in the case of the House of Representatives and in two-year intervals for the Senate. Those who oppose the lack of support (oddly enough, even Harry Reid voted against it at the last minute) will, I hope, remember the inaction which came into play. On the other hand, as a general principle, public opinion does not and should not always guide lawmakers’ loyalties. I heartily support former Senate President and UMass President William Bulger’s oft-quoted phrase from Lord Edmund Burke that “Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinion.” It is another matter altogether if a representative sacrifices his judgment to the opinion of a small group of monied interests, however. I would consider that a far worse kind of betrayal. If public opinion does, indeed, support greater gun control, or even a drastic measure such as repeal or modification of the Second Amendment, then I would propose a constitutional convention on the issue, which may be invoked by 3/4 of state constitutional conventions or 3/4 of state legislatures and thereby bypass Congress altogether. The American people always have the power; I think the core issue is learning how to wield it — how to wield it wisely, and how to wield it well.

    Third, I would say that from afar, while the measures taken to shut down Boston may have seemed extreme, the message is that no chances were being taken to ensure public safety. Law enforcement did not know the scope of who was involved, if there were co-conspirators, if there were other kinds of explosives. To act so brazenly as to put down an explosive-laden backpack beside an 8-year old boy straining over the fence to watch the Marathon — it is shocking to the conscience, is it not? While it may have seemed to be extreme, I would argue that it sent a message that this was a top priority, and that these measures were necessary and proper to protect the public safety, in the absence of more information about the nature of these perpetrators. Would it have been worth taking the chance? Also, keeping people indoors freed up municipal resources, specifically law enforcement, to the extent that law enforcement from Newton and surrounding areas could be redeployed to assist in the manhunt. In the media pictures I saw law enforcement from the BPD, FBI, Massachusetts State Police, and the Boston University Police standing side-by-side; this suggests that even area universities deployed their resources to assist in the manhunt. This is not about a direct threat as it was, I postulate, about the allocation of resources into one concentrated area. Asking residents to stay indoors would better ensure that there would be less muggings or falls down the stairs of South Station, or other types of day-to-day occurrences which would require the intervention of public safety resources.

    As always, I extent to you my greatest thanks for prompting such deep levels of intellectual engagement and discourse which stretch from the developing tale of James Bulger and implicate other larger themes in law enforcement and now in constitutional interpretation. Have you considered serving an an adjunct someplace? You are an excellent teacher in that you are skilled at prompting discussions and asking the right questions. I think that an academic institution would greatly benefit from your presence, should that opportunity emerge.


    1. Jay:
      Great post. You make telling points and I fear my reply will be quite inadequate to what you have written. First let me say I appreciate the time you took to set out your thoughts and I urge everyone to read them. You rightly point out that unlike at the time the Declaration of Independence was written when we had no way to affect the composition of King George III’s court in England and thus no say in how we were governed we do have a voice now. Today the people who are in power come from us and will return to us. That in itself is a safeguard against future tyrants. You are right as to the Constitution and the laws. I’ve noted before that as a young attorney I was told by a somewhat older but much wiser attorney that the law is what the judges say it is. It is the judges who interpret and enforce the Constitution. I recall reading the Soviet Constitution at one time and it too was a remarkable document giving many rights to the people. But no one ever enforced it so it was nothing more than a piece of paper with nice words on it.

      2. We don’t have today the same threats that existed at the end of the 18th Century when the Second Amendment came into existence yet the judges seem to analyze it as if we do. I recognize and thank you for reminding me that we do have a solution to tyranny which is the ballot box. As for Billy Bulger quoting Edmund Burke, (strange he would go to the British for a quote) the first part of that quote contains the words: “it ought to be the happiness and glory of a representative to live in the strictest union, the closest correspondence, and the most unreserved communication with his constituents. Their wishes ought to have great weight with him; their opinion, high respect; their business, unremitted attention. It is his duty to sacrifice his repose, his pleasures, his satisfactions, to theirs; and above all, ever, and in all cases, to prefer their interest to his own.” That puts a different light on matter. One does not go off into her ivory tower and ignore the people and decide what she thinks is best. One must remain in continuing contact with the people and if 80% of the people urge her to do one thing and she decides otherwise, then I’d suggest she is not representing their interests. Yes, she should have her own judgment on matters of great moment where the public might have been swayed by a highly emotional event but on whether people should have background checks or other lesser matters I don’t buy the independent judgment quote. I’d rather follow what an American named Jefferson said of government:“The mother principle [is] that ‘governments are republican only in proportion as they embody the will of their people, and execute it.’
      As far as repealing the Second Amendment, the chances of doing that are shown by the inability of Congress to agree on background checks. Although, given the right composition, the Supreme Court could come up with an interpretation of the Second Amendment that it related to the Colonial Times and after that it became surplusage and everyone had to turn in their guns.

      3. I accept your point that shutting down cities and towns would free up police officers to assist in the search and limit crimes in other areas. We can argue over whether it was necessary in this instant to be as widespread as it was. But it was clearly an infringement on people’s rights to freely associate together. If people accept these really strange orders like “shelter in” that have never existed before other than during a major snow storm or other natural disaster, what is to prevent the government than using them for other purposes. Suppose another Occupy Boston group came about. Could the major order a shelter in and then send the cops to break up the camp site. If the only purpose as you suggest is to keep criminals in doors or accidents from happening, why not have one once a week to cut down on crime. I’m just not comfortable with the ability of a governor to have this power outside of a natural disaster.

      Thanks for your nice comments at the end. I’d suggest after reading them you are much more qualified than I am to serve as an adjunct. Right now I am happy with the ability to be able to express my thoughts, not to have to worry that I can’t express them freely as one may in an academic setting, and to have people like yourself and others who have taken the time to come here to make serious commented challenging our positions, educating us with their knowledge, and putting another spin on the different spin with which I have approached these topics. That’s the America that we have to preserve. One where everyone has the freedom to express herself without fear of adverse consequence from the Government.

      1. 1. Words have meaning and are not infinitely malleable; the constitution as written is time tested; the Constitution is being reinterpreted out of existence; I like Scalia’s views, the only true genius on the Court; TRADITIONS; 2. The right of the people to keep and bear arms is INVIOLABLE; St. Aquinas (?) the inherent right of self-defense and the right to rise up ax an Intolerable Regime; 3. Freedom of Expression is inviolable; 4. the police acted prudently and with restraint in imposing restrictions (shut-ins, shut-downs, lock-downs) during and in the immediate aftermath (days/weeks not months) of the Terrorists’ attack. BRAVO! Now hunt down all the enablers, educators, co-conspirators and big honchos who selected THE TIME AND PLACE (THE EXACT LOCATIONS AT STARBUCK’S AND THE FINISH LINE) OF THESE ATTACKS. The joker and his brother the other TSAR weren’t smart enough to select these places; they were directed there to inflict maximum deaths and injuries on innocents!

        1. Bill:
          Words have to be taken in the context of the times. The Second Amendment is obsolete. It was written in days of yore when we didn’t have drones. What meaning do you give to “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State,” What are they talking about? Militia, look up the definition of militia at the time the document was written. The idea that people need to take up arms for the defense of the country is absurd. So is the idea the people can arm themselves to fight against a tyrannical country. Times have changed.
          Scalia is all right sometimes and not others. He is pushing his agenda.
          Traditions are good when kept in check. They change and should change. We had a tradition going back to the Bible days of people being slaves. Should that have been kept up. Or those other traditions not permitting some people to practice their religion freely.
          Freedom of expression is inviolable for you can say anything your tongue wags about or you put on paper – it can be criminal at times and it can also make you lots of enemies or make you seem silly — you have the right to do that but you can’t complain about the blow back from it
          When police can impose shut downs then people have surrendered rights to them. It’s not a traditional concept that people be ordered to shelter in. It’s something new and potentially destructive of a free people. Sounds very 1984ish.
          Major Menino and others disagree with you. They say only two were involved.
          By the way, did you ever get feed back from the FBI when you told them about the older brother acting suspiciously?

Comments are closed.