Meanwhile, Across the Globe…

In West, TX, the Mayor says the death toll will likely reach 35-40, including 10 first responders.

“We are out there searching the rubble, looking in each and every house. We are trying to locate each and every citizen,” Mayor Tommy Muska said in a telephone interview with The Times.

Muska said he arrived at the count of 35 to 40 dead because all other residents and first-responders in the area have been identified. Among those who were missing and believed dead, he said, were as many as six firefighters and four emergency medical technicians.

In Baghdad, in the second major pre-election terror attack (the other was on Monday, before the Marathon attack), 32 people died in a cafe bombing.

A suicide bomber set off his explosive belt inside the cafe on Thursday night. The cafe was packed with young people enjoying water pipes and playing pool.

Some bodies were found in a back street as people were thrown out of the cafe by the powerful explosion.

What’s happening in Boston is horrible (though undoubtedly exacerbated by the 24-hour crappy cable coverage and the decision to tip the perpetrators and set off this massive manhunt).

But I’m hearing a lot about this Boston tragedy being unique. The only thing that makes it unique is the media response.

28 replies
  1. peasantparty says:

    Thanks for the update.

    What I’ve been hearing about the Boston manhunt is pure crockery! Having to pick out facts is not a way to see/hear news.

  2. Eureka Springs says:

    I would rather be tied down and injected with PCP than watch American disaster porn on TV. I mean news.

  3. emptywheel says:

    @John B.: It’s not unique to have IEDs in the US ,though usually they don’t succeed in hitting things like hte Marathon. But yeah, in other parts of the world, the IEDs tend to succeed.

  4. Zachary Smith says:

    *** …the decision to tip the perpetrators and set off this massive manhunt). ***

    Something I’d never thought of by myself!

    It’s going to be harder than usual for me to resist crazy conspiracy notions with this event.

  5. rg says:

    Until evidence shows otherwise, I’m regarding the fertilizer plant as a bombing. The coordination of place (Waco,TX) and time (anniversary of the FBI raid on the Branch Dividians at Waco), the use of a fertilizer-based explosive device(as McVeigh’s revenge attack at FBI’s regional office at OK City as well as that event occurring on the Waco anniversary) are just too compelling for me to brush off as mere coincidence. Rather than seeing an industrial accident, I see the industrial plant as a large (non-mobile) IED, just waiting for someone with a motive and a triggering method. There has been much discussion about the vulnerability of the nation’s industrial infrastructure to attack, and it appears, at least to me, that someone has done so.

  6. lefty665 says:

    Uncle says something radicalized them.

    A question at WH press conference yesterday in the wake of O’s statement that the marathon bombing was terrorism was to the effect that could our drone killings of women and children be called terrorism? Carney dodged and invoked 9/11.

    Bin Laden predicted that we would so over react to being hurt that we would destroy ourselves.

    Pogo observed “We have met the enemy and he is us”.

    Might those be clues about where to start looking for the radicalizers? Could it be that we are creating enemies faster than we can kill them?

    The next cycle begins. Odds are high for more surveillance and less freedom. Can we learn and do better, or will we continue to auger in?

  7. Ben Franklin says:

    Marcy; Any thoughts on the 2 suspects? I question why they were unaware of surveillance cameras and facial recognition. They stayed in the blast zone until last night after seeing their mugs on TV for 2 days. They had no plan for escape, had no money so they decided to take a low profile and rob a 7-11?

    I am having feelings of deja vu.

  8. please says:

    Marcy I too would be interested in your comments (not so much that I want to invite speculation); I really wonder if this has crossed other minds:

    One aspect I’m bothered by is the release of the photos of the suspects with no related information about how the investigation was conducted to arrive at that conclusion. I’m not suggesting malice or ill will but it strikes me as remarkable that in a hyper aware environment, with little else to show, the whole internet is looking for these two suspects. Again nothing wrong about helping or ‘crowdsourcing’ but to collectively engage in the search without even knowing why, I find that can only be described as remarkable.

  9. P J Evans says:


    It was a ‘do you know these people?’ release. They had no identifications, and no good descriptions to go on. What was bad was the self-identified sleuths at 4chan who identified the wrong people. And the media who couldn’t back down when they were shown to be wrong.

  10. please says:

    @P J Evans: I agree with that aspect. What I mean, and unless I’m otherwise unaware of it, why were those two suspects selected?

    As you pointed out there were lots of other people documented in the images that fit the same general profile, so what did the FBI go on that led them to identify specifically these two?

    *Note: I’m not pushing back that the ‘internet sleuths’ were right but rather, what was it that was identified that made these the candidates, and not someone else, handed on down?

  11. Greg Bean (@GregLBean) says:

    Since the Boston Marathon bombing 5 days ago the likely tally for gun deaths in the US is ~ 500. Not news. Likely more than one police officer died in that count.

    Deaths from automobile accidents adds about another ~ 500. Not news. Seems likely it also includes a police officer death.

    Likelihood of dying by gun or automobile this year, 1 in 5,000.

    Likelihood of dying from terrorist attack this year, 1 in 40,000,000.

    9,000 police officers plus swat teams involved in Boston manhunt.

    Not sure what to conclude.

  12. dakine01 says:

    @please: The guy who got his legs blown off (in the picture with the guy in the cowboy hat holding the tourniquet is supposed to have helped ID at least one of the brothers which apparently started the process in ID’ing the two brothers together.

    Cops are not often going to relate the total process that leads them to ID suspect(s)

  13. Ben Franklin says:

    Remember this?

    “A US citizen has been charged with planning to fly explosive-packed, remote controlled airplanes into the Pentagon and the Capitol in Washington.

    Rezwan Ferdaus, 26, was arrested and charged with the aerial bombing plot and attempts to deliver bomb-making materials for use against US troops in Iraq, US Attorney Carmen Ortiz said in Boston.

    ”The conduct alleged today shows that Mr Ferdaus had long planned to commit violent acts against our country, including attacks on the Pentagon and our nation’s Capitol,” Mr Ortiz said.

    During the alleged plot, undercover FBI agents posed as accomplices who supplied Ferdaus with one remote-controlled plane, C4 explosives, and small arms that he allegedly envisioned using in a simultaneous ground assault in Washington.

    However, ”the public was never in danger from the explosive devices, which were controlled by undercover FBI employees,” the FBI said.

  14. tjallen says:

    I’ve not seen one word from the “experts” or anyone on the legal underpinning for the police/military takeover of a US city. Are all the people expected to voluntarily cooperate with the house-to-house search? Are hundreds of warrants being issued? Does asserting one’s civil liberties result in a terrorism arrest (several examples of this already)?

  15. rg says:

    @jerryy: Thanks, but still not relieved. Referenced article contained too many loosely organized qualifiers to overcome the factors I cited @ 7. The fire itself must be explained, even if firehose water is related. There are numerous such plants in and around agricultural areas, and they did not spontaneously erupt on the related date.

  16. jerryy says:

    @rg: You left out the various announcements that occured the same day about Brittney Griner, the star basketball player at Baylor which is also in Waco.

    Not trying to be facetious or discount whart you are saying, but ammonia being processed is dangerous. Ammonia nitrate has been touted as safe and it mostly is in the form you and I can get it. But that ‘mostly’ is not 100% and as the Texas City tragedy from years back when a someone loading a crate of the stuff onto a ship blew up most of the town shows when accidents happen they happen badly.

    The first fire is still needing sopme explanation as to why it happened.

  17. P J Evans says:

    They weren’t entering houses; they were knocking on doors and asking if the residents had seen anyone, and also reminding them to keep doors locked and to stay away from windows. It wasn’t martial law or even all that intrusive. (Boston was completely shut down once, when the pope visited.)

  18. tjallen says:

    @P J Evans: PJEvans, here is the type of thing I was looking for: MEMA made an official “shelter in place request” which sounds voluntary but gives police and government bodies extended powers:

    This order allegedly provides the legal underpinning for cancelling events and closing businesses (not voluntarily it seems), sending people out of a region, denying access to regions, ordering people to remain in hotels and do not drive, stay off the streets, and more.

    There is the element that this is for your own good, that the police might shoot you if you are deemed suspicious, so you’d better obey (voluntarily). They want to turn the place into a free-fire zone and if you’re indoors you won’t be anyone’s target. Voluntarily.

    Shelter in place was originally for use in chemical spills and nuclear accidents, when the atmosphere was temporarily dangerous, residents could be ordered indoors, tape the doors and windows, and wait out the event. Now, Shelter-in-place is being used as a police procedure or emergency management procedure… for what purpose exactly? Within what limits exactly? Is it voluntary? (Hint – no?) … Oops, there goes my paranoia meter again.

  19. P J Evans says:

    They did it to keep people off the streets. remember, these guys were considered armed and dangerous, and they’d carjacked once already. It was a public-safety issue. They do this for extreme weather, also.

    I assume you saw the pictures of the people in Watertown out in the middle of a cold night to cheer the law-enforcement guys after they collected the kid. [s] They sure looked put-upon, didn’t they? [/s]

    (I am very, very tired of the ‘police state’ BS that some people are putting out over this. It isn’t a police state thing at all.)

  20. tjallen says:

    @P J Evans: Some people’s notion of liberty does not include being ordered into their homes and “locked down,” no matter what the public safety issue is. We are adults, not children, and each person voluntarily makes decisions about their own safety and risk.

    There are lots of other issues here, too. The false voluntariness, that some citizen might not be treated with full civil rights if they fail to heed a voluntary order, that police and public safety officials might have extended powers over people who fail to perform voluntary requests. No matter how sensible and safety-related the request, there will be people who will refuse to obey, and others who don’t get the message.

    The police always have had the power to barricade areas, and on a large scale this can be used to deny access, close businesses, prevent events from occurring. I guess this isn’t a new power, but it is being used on a larger than normal scale here.

    PJEvans, I am glad the police caught them; I applaud the great work; but that doesn’t excuse me or you from examining the methods used and questioning where we go from here on expanding or limiting this emerging military capability in our big city police forces.

  21. lefty665 says:

    @tjallen: How effective was the overwhelming police presence? The kid was not found until the lockdown was unlocked, a neighbor found the bloody evidence and called the cops.

    Would the neighbor have found it earlier if not locked down? There were reports of blood before noon. Did repressive police actions actually delay resolution for 8 hours? I am only suggesting that far less coercive methods in this case would likely have resulted in the same outcome, and sooner.

    It is hard not to have thoughts of police states when the pictures are of armored police armed with real assault rifles flooding the area. They came in black uniforms, blue uniforms, brown, OD, and camo (several patterns). They rode in humvees and clinging to the sides of apcs. There were pictures of them with massed assault rifles as homes were searched and citizens ordered off the streets. If anyone wanted an example of the extent of the militarization of our police, this was it.

    The police got to pull out all their toys, and considering the amount of armament and tension, it is profoundly to their credit that, outside of active engagement with the bombers, no one, police or civilian, was shot.

    Was deploying all that firepower and coerciveness effective? That a civilian found the bomber after the police backed off suggests it was not. That should make someone’s face very red.

    Perhaps we might all pause and reflect on the wisdom, utility and potential for abuse in this massive deployment. If unquestioned it could become enshrined as policy and invoked as a first option. The people of Boston once started a revolution over military presence in the streets.

  22. tjallen says:

    @lefty665: Agreed. I want to see police money spent on apprehending, trial and conviction, and not on a strategy of blowing them away on the streets.

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