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Bruce Schneier On the Marathon Bomber Manhunt 604

Should Boston have been put in a state of lockdown on Friday as police chased down Dzhokhar Tsarnaev? Pragmatic Bruce Schneier writes on his blog: "I generally give the police a lot of tactical leeway in times like this. The very armed and very dangerous suspects warranted extraordinary treatment. They were perfectly capable of killing again, taking hostages, planting more bombs -- and we didn't know the extent of the plot or the group. That's why I didn't object to the massive police dragnet, the city-wide lock down, and so on." Schneier links to some passionate counterarguments, though. It doesn't escape the originator of a recurring movie plot terrorism contest that the Boston events of yesterday were just "the sort of thing that pretty much only happens in the movies."
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Bruce Schneier On the Marathon Bomber Manhunt

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  • Re: Slippery slope. (Score:5, Informative)

    by CheeseTroll ( 696413 ) on Saturday April 20, 2013 @01:14PM (#43504463)

    The lockdown wasn't put into place after the bombings. It was enacted after the murder of a security guard, robbery, carjacking, a shootout with ~200 rounds of ammo, one of the suspects blowing himself up, and the other escaping into the neighborhood with who-knows-what for intentions or weapons.

    That, combined with the lockdown happening on a Friday (hey, 'free' day off of work!), and it doesn't shock me that people were willing to comply for a day.

  • Re: Slippery slope. (Score:5, Informative)

    by peragrin ( 659227 ) on Saturday April 20, 2013 @01:32PM (#43504585)

    You forgot both suspects tossing bombs and grenades at the police and at random as they drove around.

    Personally those two turned that area into a war zone. While the "whole city" was on lockdown. the bulk of it was just mass transit being shut down. I went to work yesterday. Our delivery drivers were out and about around the city of Boston on Friday.

    Sure it was shut down. but for 90% of it was a day off of work only couple of square miles were actually lockdown hard.

    And they found the guy after they lifted the lockdown and people started looking around for damage.

  • Re: Slippery slope. (Score:5, Informative)

    by dadelbunts ( 1727498 ) on Saturday April 20, 2013 @02:10PM (#43504847)
    We have shootouts and high speed chases all the time here. They dont lock down the city.
  • Re:Slippery slope. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Wrath0fb0b ( 302444 ) on Saturday April 20, 2013 @02:28PM (#43504999)

    There is no Constitutional right to have a lawyer during questioning, only a Constitutional right not to have any statements you make during such questioning introduced at trial. Since they have ample other evidence by which to convict Tsarnaev without using any such statements, there is no particular reason to Mirandize him. We can just accept that the statements made without advising him of his rights are not admissible in court.

    See this excellent summary by Orin Kerr [] for a bit of explanation of how it actually works (as distinct from how you or I or him believe it ought to work). You can also read the Supreme Court's decision in Chavez v. Martinez, 538 U.S. 760 (2003) [] directly, if you prefer,

  • Re:Bad Judgement (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 20, 2013 @03:22PM (#43505309)

    ... investigation as to why this plant was allowed to flaunt safety regulations. (emphasis added)

    Flaunt means to display proudly or ostentatiously, such as one might do after buying a new sports car. To flaunt safety regulations means you have put up a big colourful poster with the text of the regulations and maybe have a big sign saying "We're better than everyone else because we follow safety regulations!"

    I believe the word you were looking for was flout.

  • Re:Slippery slope? (Score:4, Informative)

    by ClintJCL ( 264898 ) <clintjcl+slashdot@ g m a i l . com> on Saturday April 20, 2013 @03:40PM (#43505427) Homepage Journal
    Your hindsight analysis isn't really relevant to someone's fear about going outside (which is prior to said police work that you are analyzing in hindsight). Fact of the matter is police kill more innocent Americans every year (except one) than terrorists do. It's a valid fear, and hindsight-analysis of Boston PD and FBI after the fact doesn't make that fear unfounded, as it is founded in a far more general, verifiable truth.
  • by cold fjord ( 826450 ) on Saturday April 20, 2013 @05:02PM (#43505937)

    Yes. But luckily, you've got plenty of guns, which once again proved their usefulness on this occasion, by... Oh, never mind.

    Snark - sometimes it makes you look edgy and clever, sometimes it just makes you look stupid.

    Crime soared with Mass. gun law []
    Joyce Lee Malcolm: Two Cautionary Tales of Gun Control []

    Tough Targets - When Criminals Face Armed Resistance from Citizens []

  • Re:Slippery slope? (Score:2, Informative)

    by MaskedSlacker ( 911878 ) on Saturday April 20, 2013 @06:28PM (#43506367)
  • Re:Slippery slope? (Score:5, Informative)

    by ClintJCL ( 264898 ) <clintjcl+slashdot@ g m a i l . com> on Saturday April 20, 2013 @07:30PM (#43506623) Homepage Journal
    I should probably have mentioned that I don't consider attacks against armed forces to count in my comparison, as we were talking about Boston civilians in their home. We are comparing the odds of a civilian (which I called "innocent" above, not the best word choice, sorry for poor form) being killed in a terror attack in america vs a civilian being killed by a policeman.

    "From 1969 to 2009, the average number of fatalities per terrorist attack against a nation other than the United States yielded 1.74 fatalities. (See Chart 2.) When the data are limited to incidents against the United States, the average terrorist attack yielded 2.01 fatalities per incident. These fatalities represent all individuals killed, not only Americans. Without 9/11, the average falls to 0.97 fatalities per attack." [citation: i know these guys are assholes, but they do process some meaningful statistics []]

    The problem is: How many incidents per year? The same page has a chart, the highest number of incidents in a year is 150. So we're talking about 301 people. But what is hard to get it: How many of these are military targets? I don't even consider terrorism possible against military: The very definition of terrorism, as far as i am concerned, is that you are killing innocents. Military are not innocents. They have opted to be put in harm's way. They also are not related to the original conversation here on slashdot about being fearful to go outside because Boston police might mistakenly shoot you.

    Hard to say how many of these are military -- perhaps Rand has a Crystal Reports plugin somewhere where we can analyze the data further?

    But wait! Further down the page, they talk about homegrown terrorism. The maximum per year was 2001 with 33 attacks. For 2007-2009 there were 3. On a bad year: 911, thousands of deaths. During some years, like 2007? Zero.

    Please tell me I don't have to demonstrate that police have killed more than zero person in a year. :) 2007 is an easy win, if i were to cherry-pick.

    " Since 1970, more than half of all international terrorist acts targeting the United States occurred in either Latin America and the Caribbean (36 percent) or Europe (23 percent). (See Chart 6.) The Middle East and Persian Gulf account for 20 percent. "

    ^You have to throw those out for the Boston comparison too.

    Hopefully you do realize the police kill 150-400 unarmed people every year. Shootings are always found justified, because all that is needed to justify it is "I felt scared". Scared people with guns are something to be scared of. And there's a lot more of them than terrorists.

    Indeed, here is where the sentiment originated: []

    If you want to prove me wrong, you'll have to tell me why the National Security Council numbers are flawed. I am open to such a notion, but as you made me do your homework, you'd have to do mine this time ;)

  • Re:Slippery slope? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Sunday April 21, 2013 @08:53AM (#43508927) Journal

    War is not terrorism.

"No, no, I don't mind being called the smartest man in the world. I just wish it wasn't this one." -- Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias, WATCHMEN