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Heavily armed police squad on the streets of Boston

Terrorists Tried To Terrorize Boston. They Succeeded.


Civil Liberties – Zacqary Adam Xeper

Civil Liberties – Zacqary Adam Xeper

Last night, the city of Boston, Massachusetts and some surrounding suburbs shut down. The only people on the streets were heavily armed police and military. Most businesses closed, many hospitals closed, and people were ordered to stay in their homes. Why? Because a 19-year-old terror suspect was running from police, and maybe had guns or bombs with him.

I saw an incredible lack of concern about this, both from locals and from people watching elsewhere in the US. Sure, declaring martial law in a city is inconvenient, and does horrible damage to civil liberties, but there’s a terrorist out there! He killed people, and he could kill more people! Staying in our homes keeps us safe.

Well, no. No it doesn’t. Hiding in our homes from the dangerous terrorists doesn’t keep us safe, and it doesn’t help the police apprehend them. I know this because I’m completely making it up, just like everyone who disagrees with me.

The truth is, we can’t prove one way or the other if any lives were saved by locking down the Boston area, or by deploying an absurd amount of militarized police. If we had a time machine, we could go back in time, make the decision not to lock down Boston, and then see if the number of people murdered that day increases. But we can’t.

We can point out that the suspect was only arrested after the lockdown ended, and wasn’t even found by police. But we still can’t predict how things could have gone differently if one thing or another didn’t happen.

So, the only thing that we can definitively prove either way is that a terrorist terrorized Boston. We can say, without question, that terrorism — which aims to scare people into shutting down and disrupting society — is absolutely effective. Congratulations, Boston. The terrorists won.

Now that the dust is settled, the suspect has been captured, and people can leave their homes again, we need to never, ever let this happen again. As a New Yorker who lived through 9/11, I beg the people of Boston to ask why this was necessary. Why, for one teenager, were the streets filled with SWAT teams, armored vehicles, and soldiers? Why declare martial law throughout an entire city to find one kid? Even an armed and dangerous kid?

This is the way a police state would react to a mass murder, not a free society. What happened in Boston was completely uncalled for. But what’s scariest to me is that nobody seems to be upset about it. If we become desensitized to this sort of thing, it can only get worse. For one day, Boston was a police state. If we accept one day, then next time they’ll give us one week. If we accept one week, they’ll give us one month. This is exactly what the people who bombed the Boston Marathon want. Don’t give it to them.

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About The Author: Zacqary Adam Xeper

Zacqary is an activist in the New York Pirate Party, where his official title is "Cat Herder." He is an open source game developer, and the Chief Executive Plankhead of Plankhead, a free culture arts collective. Despite believing that money is a superfluous social construct, he has a Gittip profile.

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  1. 1

    Amen brother. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it were yet another inside job, to see if USA is ready for a dictatorship yet.

      • 1.1.1

        Yes, of course. I was just trying to think what these guys objective was to try to take attention off. CISPA is one obvious candidate.

    • 1.2

      Honestly the official story — that a couple of disaffected Chechen immigrants decided to do something horrible — seems plausible to me. I don’t think this was anything besides the state overreacting and losing its mind, like it always does. There doesn’t need to be any sinister intent behind this for it to be setting a dangerous precedent.

      The government is doing a fine job of overreacting to threats based on flimsy evidence. Let’s be the sane ones here.

      • 1.2.1

        “…There doesn’t need to be any sinister intent behind this for it to be setting a dangerous precedent….”

        Yeah. And there doesn’t need to be any sinister intent behind it for it to be USED to promote similarly sinister and far-reaching schemes – see: martial law. It’s an excuse, a tool – and a very useful one at that.

        • Caleb Lanik

          It is worth noting that 11 years of Patriot Act bullshit has successfully removed a great deal of the average Americans’ (and many others) civil rights, but fails to stop terrorist attacks.

      • 1.2.2

        > I don’t think this was anything besides the state overreacting and losing its mind,

        the state will never miss an opportunity to incrementally morph into uber authoritarianism. Whether these opportunities occur by chance or by design doesn’t matter. They all will be made to serve a purpose.

    • 1.3

      my sentiments exactly! maybe not the dictatorship part, but certainly the inside job bit. i think this has been done to emphasize how much the new CISPA bill was needed (it is in anyway!). even after 9/11 there was loads of speculation about who actually was responsible. since that God awful day, the USA has become so wrapped up by terrorist attacks, it suspects everyone, everywhere. when a country’s government is so scared of terrorists that it puts it’s own people under 24/7 surveillance, removes as many of the freedpms and privacy that it can, then democracy has died! the terrorists have already won. they dont have to do anything else! one of the many problems in the USA now is that those in Congress are so old, they not only dont understand the modern, technological world, relying on others to do the tricky stuff for them, they will not be around much longer to see the total fuck up they have made of what was, at one time, the bastion of freedom, the heart of democracy!

  2. 2

    Your main point is entirely correct. The terrorists has managed to do alot of damage to the city both in lost work, changed attitude and lost income. And the most of this is not from the actions the terrorist did – but from the responses by the goverment. The goverment damaged their own society the most.

    Overly broad actions taken by the fear of uncertainly is a great threat to society. Govements is often very bad in taking the correct actions when faced with fearfull scenarios. Overreactions is often the norm.

    However the reason for people to stay home is not to be safe from the terrorist. Its to be safe from the police. The police are armed and dangerous. They have shot houndreds of bullets within the city in their efforst to find and apprehend the terrorists. Citizens are well adviced to not look like a threath to them or they risk being shot by the police.

    So staying home is the most safe option when you have alot of triggerhappy people out looking for ‘terrorists’.

  3. 3

    As someone who actually lives in Boston (has anyone reporting on the dismantling of our civil liberties ever asked one of us how we feel?), I think there’s a mentality problem. I’m sure you’ve seen all of the various SM posts saying things like “Fuck with Boston and we will shut our whole fucking city down to find you.” You might think “well that’s a problem and they’re accepting a police state” or “they’re clearly trying to make light of the fact that they can’t leave their homes.” Wrong. That’s actually how most of this city thinks.

    The Boston Marathon has been held for over 100 years. Some assholes decided to fuck with one of the most inspiring, unifying, and enduring examples of the human spirit in the world. It also happened to be in one of the most collectively “Don’t fuck with us” cities in the entire country. What I heard when I was told to stay indoors was _not_ “Stay out of the streets or the terrorist might get you!” I heard, “Everyone stay out of the way so they can find this son of a bitch, cuff him, and ask him why he was such a fucking idiot.” Implied was also, “We’ll tell you when you’re allowed to come look grizzled and leer at this douchebag.”

    We got the guy. We got him because – yes, because, as in implication of direct causality – people were off the streets, and when it became clear that something was up, a concerned citizen phoned the police, and they did their job.

    • 3.1

      Well when you put it that way it kinda sounds like you guys have small penis issues.

      Fascist states usually get a bunch of people who are proud of how fucked up they are.

    • 3.2
      Scary Devil Monastery

      Yes, you got the guy.

      And you let him win.

      That’s the problem, you see. When two murderers can shut down a whole city under any circumstances, that city is no longer healthy. It means the citizenry are all sitting at home, believing that a murderer on the loose means it’s dangerous to go out-of-doors.

      Or it means something worse – that the citizenry are WILLING to put their lives on hold for the sake of two insane people.

      • 3.2.1

        Boston may be a major city, but it was our cousins, uncles and friends chasing that piece of crap down. And while we were asked to stay inside – nobody got arrested who ventured out.

        And actually – there were several places open all over Boston. If you weren’t here – shut the hell up.

  4. 4
    David Collier-Brown

    I’m mildly amazed that the Boston police would allow two kids with bombs to close down a whole city.

    London didn’t close down in the blitz, nor during the mortaring and bombings by the IRA. Neither succeeded in terrorizing the citizens.

    If the purpose of terror is to make the government over-react, Boston is a success for the bombers. I expected better out of the country who pitched in to end the 2nd World War. For shame, Boston!


  5. 5

    Big win, well it was, but not us, home grown, or just visiting, these two brothers really knew how to crash a party. Numbers, it looks like the city’s shut down was worth about, One Billion Dollars in loss economic activity, and you must also count the disruption of the rail transport tied to much of the areas around Boston, another 50+ Million in lost economic activities, this is after we count the terrible cost in lives damaged or destroyed, so one must on the Osama scale of zero to 100, this was a good 65. A strike at the enemies heart land with some casualties and good economic damage, due to the over reaction of the Government, take it any way you can get it. The next question is, was it a one off, by two very interesting guys, or are we seeing the start of a trend, in which case we had better step up our game. Protecting the public is one thing , but a Billion plus thats real money, at the moment, so we need a better plain.

  6. 6
    Caleb Lanik

    Oh, and look, now he’s being denied his Miranda rights (to, among other things, have a lawyer and remain silent.)


    • 6.1

      He waived those rights when he chose to become a terrorist.

      • 6.1.1

        Enjoy your police state oppression. Wait… you probably are the kind of guy who would enjoy being a mini-Hitler.

      • 6.1.2
        Caleb Lanik

        He is an alleged terrorist. He has not been proven guilty of anything in a court of law. If we start with a presumption of guilt, no one ever gets a lawyer when charged with anything. “If he wanted a lawyer he shouldn’t have been dealing drugs.” That’s kind of what the fifth amendment is for.

  7. 7

    Martial law was _never_ declared. We were ‘asked’ to stay indoors and we did so voluntarily. It was not mandatory and plenty of people did go out, right in front of the police.

    Making your point and having it be sound requires not engaging in hyperbole or inaccuracies to do so. Leave that to the politicians.

    • 7.1
      William Lee

      Slippery slope. It’s been happening for over a decade. Where have you been? It’s not stopping, it’s picking up speed.

      • 7.1.1

        Please don’t patronize me. I’ve been right here.

        My point that one can’t fight lies and hyperbole with equally inaccurate ‘facts’ is still valid. That is also a slippery slope. The morel highground is also a slippery slope when you wet it down with hyperbole.

        You can’t educate/warn/inform the public with facts if they’re not facts.

    • 7.2
      Zacqary Adam Green

      Hi Maggie,

      I’m aware that the order to stay home was voluntary. “Declaring martial law” wasn’t the best choice of words, I’m sorry for that.

      But I stand by calling what happened “martial law.” You were kept inside not by the fear of arrest or punishment, but by the fear of the suspect, or the fear of being accidentally flagged as the suspect. The police perpetuated this fear based on — in my opinion — flimsy evidence. But it certainly kept a majority of people in their homes.

      So perhaps martial law wasn’t “declared.” But something that certainly looked and sounded like it was accepted. I think that should give us a lot of pause.

      That’s why I chose the headline I did: Boston was terrorized. And I don’t think it had a reason to be.

  8. 8

    In Sweden we have a word rättshaverist you Zacqary wins the prize for being the Rättshaverist of the week.

    And by the way the reason for asking people to stay of the streets was to protect the people from further bombs and shootings until the guilty had been found. i see nothing wrong with the politicians police and military trying to protect the people they serve. You obviously do!

    • 8.1

      I believe the Swedish word comes from the German “Rechthaberei” and yes Zacqary seem to fulfil the requirement for the use of precisely that word.

      • 8.1.1

        Haberei in german comes from “to have”. As in rights-haver. Correct translation would be “havare”. Swedish word “haveri” has nothing at all to do with it.

        As in “I have the right, I have the right, I have the right…” and not “haveri” = crash/break something.

        So either you are wrong or there was once a faulty translation.

  9. 9

    If you have medical training, please review this evidence and express your opinion if you find it relevant.


  10. 10

    Twitter feeds for ’48 Hours’ and ’60 Minutes’ have been hacked. Special image released.



  11. 11
    Amanda J

    Firstly, we have no idea what these people’s motivations were. Considering they have spent almost no time in Checnya and have been in the US for a decade I find this whole thing strange. By writing this article you are accepting and perpetuating the official story, which has more holes than swiss cheese.
    Secondly, as someone stated above people we asked, not forced, to say inside. I would also opinion that the issue was the manhunt, which would be more difficult with people going about their daily lives, than fear that keep people inside.
    Thirdly, staying inside for a few says does not seem to be a big deal to me but perhaps I am dismissive. For example, the TSA outright harasses people and the patriot act made our civil liberties practically disappear. This sort of thing seems much more ‘terrorizing’ than choosing to stay inside for a few days. By calling this ‘terrorizing’ people I think you are cheapening the idea of the state oppressing people to protect them.

  12. 12

    One of the reasons that these terrorists was caught relatively quick was because of camera surveillance, something that Falkvinge and Zacqary are very much against. Interesting?

    • 12.1

      Or, as the late Dwight D Eisenhower said “If you want total security, go to prison. There you’re fed, clothed , given medical care and so on. The only thing lacking is freedom.”

      • 12.1.1

        Dennis I am sorry but Eisenhower was wrong. Prisons are not secure its a bigger chance of getting killed, raped or assaulted in there than on the outside. So your point was what?

        • harveyed

          But if that is so, then why slowly turn more and more of society into a surveilled prison? You expect it to become better if we make it more like a prison..?

    • 12.2
      Zacqary Adam Green

      I don’t have a problem with CCTV surveillance under a very rare set of circumstances where the benefits outweigh the downsides. During a huge, annual public event where hundreds of cameras are expected, there’s no issue with it.

      But the Boston Marathon doesn’t happen 365 days a year.

    • 12.3

      Arguments based on few incidents or examples, not good enough. The statistics says the positive effects are negligible and could be performed much better by maybe 1 or 2 more police officers.

  13. 13

    “I know this because I’m completely making it up”! Classic! :)

  14. 14

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About The Author

Zacqary is an activist in the New York Pirate Party, where his official title is "Cat Herder." He is an open source game developer, and the Chief Executive Plankhead of Plankhead, a free culture arts collective. Despite believing that money is a superfluous social construct, he has a Gittip profile.

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