There has been good news lately. First, the second suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing has been captured alive.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, was discovered by a homeowner lying in a boat in the man’s backyard around 7 p.m. The man noticed blood on the boat, spotted a body inside the boat and called 911, according to Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis.
According to police, a helicopter with infrared technology then located Tsarnaev in the boat and noted that he was moving about within it. The helicopter directed officers on the ground to the boat, where they briefly exchanged gunfire shortly before 7 p.m.
Police halted their gunfire and sent hostage negotiators to try and talk Tsarnaev out of the boat Davis said.
But the suspect was not responsive, and after about an hour and 45 minutes, officers went to the boat and took Tsarnaev into custody.
His arrest sparked a spontaneous celebration in Watertown with people high fiving police, chanting Boston strong and USA.
“We got him,” Boston Mayor Tom Menino tweeted immediately after Tsarnaev was arrested. “I have never loved this city & its people more than I do today. Nothing can defeat the heart of this city .. nothing.”
The Boston police department also sent out a tweet in the aftermath trumpeting, “CAPTURED!!! The hunt is over. The search is done. The terror is over. And justice has won. Suspect in custody.”
Tsarnaev and his brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, are believed to be behind the bombing of the Boston Marathon on Monday that killed three individuals and injured more than 170.
Tsarnaev was then transported away from the scene in an ambulance, as law enforcement officials and onlookers clapped and cheered.
The alleged bomber had been shot by police during gunfire nearly 24 hours earlier, when he and his brother allegedly shot and killed an MIT police officer and then engaged in a shootout with cops.
Police said tonight that there were some 200 rounds of ammunition, as well as improvised explosive devices and homemade hand grenades found at the scene of the shooting. Tamerlan was killed in the gunfire, but Dzhokhar fled on foot into Watertown.
Police locked down a 20-block section of Watertown today and searched door-to-door with heavily armed SWAT team members.
But police said at a press conference after the standoff ended that Tsarnaev had escaped their manhunt and hid himself in the boat just one block outside of the perimeter they were searching.
“We know he didn’t go straight to the boat,” said Watertown police chief Edward P. Deveau. “We found blood in the car he abandoned and we found blood in a house inside the perimeter. We had no information that he had gotten outside the perimeter, but it was very chaotic this morning. We had a police officer who was shot and bleeding.”
“We had a perimeter that we thought was solid and we did that but we were about one block away,” Deveau said.
Tsarnaev is in “serious” condition at a hospital tonight, Davis said.
A senior Justice Department official told ABC News that federal law enforcement officials are invoking the public safety exception to the Miranda rights, so that Tsarnaev will be questioned immediately without having Miranda rights issued to him.
The federal government’s high value detainee interrogation group will be responsible for questioning him.
The Miranda exemption exists to protect the public safety from another attack, according to the official.
The capture was quickly followed by a press conference with a host of law enforcement officials, ranging from the Boston police commissioner to the FBI and the U.S. Attorney who will ultimately prosecute the case, all of whom praised the work of officers and the public.
President Obama condemned the actions of the bombers today, though he warned the public not to jump to conclusions about motivations.
“In this day of instant reporting, tweets, and blogs, there is a temptation to latch onto any bit of information, sometimes to jump to conclusions, but when a tragedy like this happens, with the public safety at risk and the stakes so high, it important to do this right,” Obama said. “That’s why have an investigation, that’s why we relentlessly gather the facts, that’s why we have courts.”
“Whatever hateful agenda drove these men cannot, will not prevail,” he said, “and whatever they thought they could achieve failed because the people of Boston refuse to be intimidated, and we as Americans refuse to be terrorized.”
I am not sure if it would have been better if Tsarnaev had been killed. I hate for him to have the publicity of a trial, but on the other hand it must surely be worth interrogating him. I like what the president said about not jumping to conclusions about his motives. I take it, he does not want us to speculate on whether the Tsarnaev brothers might possibly have been inspired by the teachings of the Religion of Peace. If the bombers had been anti-government Tea Party/militia fanatics, as so many of the left wished, President Obama wouldn’t hesitate to speculate on their motives, and blame the Republicans, Rush Limbaugh, Glen Beck, and whoever else was even remotely conservative.
The other good news was earlier this week. The Senate easily defeated Obama’s gun control proposals, marking a clear victory for the cause of liberty. This report from the Washington Post seems to be even more biased than usual.
President Obama’s ambitious effort to overhaul the nation’s gun laws in response to December’s school massacre in Connecticut suffered a resounding defeat Wednesday, when every major proposal he championed fell apart on the Senate floor.
It was a stunning collapse for gun-control advocates just four months after the deaths of 20 children and six adults in Newtown led the president and many others to believe that the political climate on guns had been altered in their favor.
The national drive for laws that might prevent another mass shooting unraveled under intense pressure from the gun rights lobby, which used regional and cultural differences among senators to prevent new firearms restrictions.
One by one, the Senate blocked or defeated proposals that would ban certain military-style assault rifles and limit the size of ammunition magazines.
But the biggest setback for the White House was the defeat of a measure to expand background checks to most gun sales. The Senate defied polls showing that nine in 10 Americans support the idea, which was designed to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill.
“All in all, this was a pretty shameful day for Washington,” a visibly angry Obama said as he delivered his response to the nation.
The president was flanked by Newtown families, a scowling Vice President Biden and former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), who was shot in 2011 in Tucson and limped from the Oval Office to join Obama in the Rose Garden.
Anytime Barack Obama is upset and angry is a good day for America. The president and his minions in the media are confused by this defeat, but the matter is not really very complicated. There never was any strong ground swell in public opinion for stricter gun control despite the efforts of Organizing for America and the New York Times. Most Americans have more important things to worry about at the moment, like whether the economy is ever going to get any better or whether they will have a job.
Even when Americans do think about gun control, they are far less likely to support the idea than in past decades. There has been a real change in American public opinion, at least since 9/11 and probably before that. Americans are less likely these days to passively sit back and let the authorities and the experts take care of things. In part this change is the result of a growing realization that the experts don’t really know what they are doing. Compare how many attempts at terrorism have been foiled by Homeland Security as opposed to private citizens paying attention to their surroundings.
Walter Russel Mead has similar thoughts and has manged to tie together these two seemingly separate news items.
Millions of Americans listening to the bulletins on the developing manhunt were either glad they had guns in their homes or thought seriously about getting them. Yet for many professional journalists, and maybe especially those in the Acela corridor in the Northeast, this reaction is incomprehensible.
Put simply, millions of Americans don’t want to depend only on the police for protection. They think about the inevitable interval between calling 911 and the arrival of the cops, and they don’t want to wait helplessly for the good guys to arrive. Events like this one reinforce deeply held public beliefs about the dangerous world we live in and the limits of the state’s ability to protect the people from the bad guys.
This may not strike enlightened and well credentialed Acela liberals as sensible or rational, but that’s not the point. Without understanding the visceral belief that many Americans have, that their “right to bear arms” is about self defense and the right to take care of your own when the State fails you, it’s impossible to understand the politics of gun control in the United States.
The chances of getting 60 votes in the Senate for serious gun control remain slim to none.
I think this is a good thing. The police and Homeland Security cannot be everywhere and as the Tsarnaev brothers, and 9/11, has shown in the War on Terrorism everywhere is potentially a front and everyone is potentially a front line soldier. Rather than trying to take guns away from people, Obama and company would do better to encourage more Americans to be armed.