April 23, 2013
“Whatever they thought they could ultimately achieve, they’ve already failed,” says President Obama of the Boston Marathon bombers.
“They failed because the people of Boston refused to be intimidated. They failed because as Americans we refuse to be terrorized.”
Bostonians did react splendidly. From first responders to folks who gave blood, from hospital staffs to the FBI, ATF and state troopers, from the Boston and Watertown cops to the hostage rescue team that talked Dzhokhar Tsarnaev out of that boat.
But did the Brothers Tsarnaev really fail—as terrorists?
On Sunday’s talk shows, a sub-theme was that this had been the “most successful terrorist attack since 9/11.”
For consider what these brothers accomplished.
By brazenly exploding two bombs right at the finish line of the marathon, with TV cameras all around, they killed three and injured, wounded and maimed 178 people for all the world to see.
Within hours, their atrocity had riveted the attention of the nation. Cable channels went wall to wall, as did major networks. By the evening of the attack, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and President Obama had gone live to reassure us they would be apprehended and justice done.
Day two, Obama appeared again as the greatest manhunt in U.S. history was underway. On day four, the FBI released photos, imploring citizens to come forward and identify the men in the white and black caps.
That evening, the brothers murdered an MIT police officer, hijacked a Mercedes van and engaged in a gunfight with Watertown police that left Tamerlan Tsarnaev dead and his brother a fugitive.
On Friday morning, Gov. Patrick went before the cameras to tell a stunned nation he was imposing a lockdown on all of Boston and half a dozen neighboring communities. Red Sox and Bruins games were canceled.
A million people in and around the city of Paul Revere, of the Lexington and Concord patriots, of Bunker Hill, locked their doors and hid inside because a lone armed teenager with pipe bombs was on the loose.
Boston, said The New York Times, was a “ghost town.”
“The scene was extraordinary. The hub of the universe, as Boston’s popular nickname would have it, was on lockdown from first light until near dark Friday. A massive dragnet for one man had brought a major U.S. city to an absolute standstill.
“The people were gone, shops were locked, streets were barren, the trains did not run. The often-clogged Massachusetts Turnpike was as clear as a bowling lane.”