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Grant Gallicho is an associate editor of Commonweal. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter.



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Neighboring cities/towns are in "lock down:" Cambridge, Newton, Allston-Brighton areas of Boston. Eerie silence on streets of Newton. MBTA subways and buses shut down.Governor Patrick just announced all of Boston told to stay in doors: "shelter in place."

Evidently the dead man and the one on the loose are of Chechen origin.

It's an odd day in Boston, reminiscent---despite the gorgeous, spring-like weather---of nothing so much as weather disasters (hurricanes and blizzards) for those of us not immediately in harm's way. Basically, once you've readjusted your expectations for the day---not going to work, not meeting up with friends, not going to school---and settled into whatever routine you can, there's not much to do but wait.The occasional flashes of tweeted humor are especially welcome:"Now THAT's Boston. RT @DunkinDonuts: Our Watertown restaurant is open to serve first responders & law enforcement w/ free coffee & product.""Toss Matty Damon and Ben Affleck in a police uniform and this manhunt would be over. #Bourne #Argo #BostonLegends"

These Chechnyan young men seem very intelligent. Scholarships? The radical Al Quida overall plans also seems to be very stupid by the targeting and killing of innocent people. An intense, organized international plan to show up the stupidity of these radical plans may be the best long term defence against terrorism. Ridicule can be an effective counter measure. .

I do not think these two guys are the brains of the operation. I mean, if you bombed that marathon, why would you then rob a convenience store? A person of average intelligence would know enough to lay low or get out of there altogether.For this reason I hope they catch the guy alive; so they can ask about his motive and as important, who put him up to this, who is his boss.Like the mob, there are the foot soldiers (energetic but not too bright), the capos (to control the foot soldiers), and the bosses.

Some reporter tweeted earlier today (paraphrasing), "This is a day for collecting dots; there will be other days to connect the dots."Which is to say, among other things, we aren't even sure of the narrative of events over the past 24 hours, let alone over the past week. Thus, it's far too early (in my view) to speculate about 1) the intelligence (or lack there of) of the suspects; 2) the political and/or religious motivations of the bombers; 3) their connections (or lack thereof with al-Qaeda (or any other organizations); 4) any number of the other aspects of this case.

In the meantime, there have been moments today when Watertown looked (on TV) like a movie made in America. We don't know much; that's true. But you have to ask whether the people who are supposed to know really know anything. And I don't mean the media.

My hunch is that the older brother might have gone radical and then convinced the younger to follow him. However once the older brother died, the younger might have woke up, snapped out of it a bit and thought something like; I am out of here.We'll see.I hope the younger brother turns himself in, or that the police manage to catch him alive.

Ken: it has been reported that they did NOT rob the convenience store; others did.

yes: "But you have to ask whether the people who are supposed to know really know anything. And I dont mean the media."for example: reports that "a foreign power" warned U.S. intelligence about the older brother two years ago; yet he then spent 6 months in Russia last year. That seems to require looking into, if true.

May I say, I was relieved that one of them was not killed. When I heard the reports that the brothers had gunned down a police officer, I thought the possibility that they'd be captured alive, already pretty small in my estimation, had shrunk considerably. I know I am probably out of step with the majority of Americans, and perhaps with Bostonians, in this sentiment.

It was Russia. From the FBI statement:"The FBI also interviewed Tamerlan Tsarnaev and family members. The FBI did not find any terrorism activity, domestic or foreign, and those results were provided to the foreign government in the summer of 2011. The FBI requested but did not receive more specific or additional information from the foreign government."

Juan Cole has this interesting take on the Tsarnaeva family dynamic at work. He draws on the comments of the aunt, now living in Canada, who suggested that the father worked opposing the Muslim fundamentalists in Chechnya and Dagestan, and the uncle's claim that the brothers were raised as secularists. world!!

Jim McCrea - Wow, that is good to know!Reminds me a bit of the old saying "Other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?";-)

No, Jim, you are not the only one relieved the kid wasn't shot to death. I want to know what his story is before the judicial system metes out justice. Gunning people down before they can be tried panders to the notion that Americans are vigilante cowboys bent on vengeance rather than justice. It has also occurred to me that we need to rethink our policy of trying to flush out terrorists by baiting them in sting operations, which does NOT seem to be the case here.But it might be useful to contemplate the extent to which our own agencies inflame young men like these. Am I the only one who can imagine a situation in which the sting goes horribly wrong? In which forces charged with protecting us simply whip up a fervor that goes off their carefully concocted script? Or creates a nutbar who starts recruiting others? Talk about shooting ourselves in the foot.

Don't need that many sting operations when we're droning young men in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somali, and who knows where else. Doesn't this build resentment and create even more terrorists?And while we're still on Boston, did anyone else find offensive the self-congratulations of Frances Townsend (CNN), Bush era terrorism adviser, (but not her alone) in the moments following the capture of the younger brother. Why do I find this chest-thumping about how great we are so false at a moment like that? We are lucky to have captured him alive.

Margaret, I don't find the triumphalism as offensive as deluded. The notion is that "they can't do this to us; we're too smart for them!" In reality, terrorism DOES work. It blew up a lot of innocent people, scared the hell out of everybody in Watertown, and shut down a major metro area for 24 hours. And the surviving terrorist eluded a carefully coordinated dragnet involving hundreds of law enforcement and military personnel. The surviving suspect was found on a fluke, when a guy smoking a cig noticed his boat cover was kittywampus.More insidious is the way terrorism brings out the worst in victims. Statements like this posted to news report sites are chilling: "Please please please wherever you are blow your brains out and do everybody a favor." Or "Islam is as Islam does."

Okay, perhaps offensive because deluded. But offensive because people such as Townsend seem unable to see anything but a victory in this mess. Or is that the same thing as delusion?Also, an interesting rundown by the Boston Globe on the family; it certainly has had its troubles, which may explain some of the turns taken by the brothers.

The reason he was taken alive is because the Feds were in charge and that was their call because they wanted more intelligence from him. Shooting a wounded man in a wooden boat whould have been easy. If terrorism, the killing of innocent women and children, is a terrorist publicity ploy why condemn triumphalism, like cheering law enforcement personal, as a legitimate counter measure? . Propaganda fought with propaganda is better than killing ...Yes??? The US triumphalism shown wordwide I believe will give pause to an intellegent enemy who will ask himself 'kill myself for what effect'

Ed, you mean these are public relations ploys pitted against one another? Hmmm!!!The triumphalism of talking heads on the media (especially one who helped shape Bush policies) is what I referred to. Cheering law enforcement personnel could be a sign of relief that the manhunt was over. Your point that the feds were in charge and (therefore) he was taken alive puts me in mind of a conversation I had earlier today with a former Boston resident who seemed to think that the Boston police might have just as readily shot up the boat as captured Tsarnaev. The lockdown in Boston and environs may have done as much to protect the citizens from the police as from the killer. We all live in cities where local police forces have a tendency to shoot first and ask questions later; that is not unique to Boston.

John Sullivan of the New Yorker captures something of the "over the top" responses. "It was about 1 P.M. on Friday when I decided this fine country of ours had lost its moorings and gone a little nuts. That was when I heard that the authoritieswhich particular ones wasnt clearhad stopped the trains running between New York and Boston. At Penn Station, a radio reporter said, Amtrak passengers and trains were piling up."Worth a read:

Ed, interesting point, but I'm not sure how effective that triumphalist propaganda is when a teenage terrorism suspect is able to shut down an entire city. After 9/11, it was a point of pride for many people around the country NOT to let terrorism shut us down. Margaret, thanks for the link to John Cassidy's blog post. I think he gets it about right.

Cassidy praises Israeles as paradigms for handling terrorism well -- for immediately going about their business as if it hadn't happened. Talk about heads in sand. But some of the Israelis are experts in denying history, so that shouldn't be a surprise. I'll take Massachusetts any day. And the Bostonians on the scene were great -- they didn't run, they stayed to help the injured, sometimes stanching the flow of blood with their own hands. Yay, Boston!

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