The people of the greater Boston area are getting what I would call a crash course in what it feels to be under siege. That is to say, it has been just a few days since bombs exploded in Boston. Yet, in those five days the presence of terrorist bombers, police and FBI activity, military activity, world-wide press coverage, and the fear which accompanies terrorism have become everyday experiences. It has come to a head in the past 12 hours, with the terrorists having been identified.
In that short time, the following has happened:
- the pictures of the terrorists have been published
- the names of the terrorists and some information about them has become common knowledge
- the terrorists emerged, robbing a 7-Eleven Store on the MIT campus
- a policeman has been killed and another security officer injured
- one of the terrorists has been killed, the other is still at large
- a massive police chase has been undertaken which has covered the news non-stop
- the entire city of Boston and the surrounding towns have been placed on lock-down
- new language has emerged which is now fast becoming second nature to the people of this area
- city streets are plugged with police vehicles vehicles, military vehicles, ambulances, and other frightening vehicles
- the tension in the area is palpable
By the time you read this the situation may have been resolved, in the sense that the second perpetrator may have been captured. But:
- it is now believed that there are two or more other persons involved
- a bomb has been found in downtown Boston
- information leads officials to believe that this is not an isolated incident; it may have international ties
It is fair to say that a new era of terrorism has begun, moving in a different direction from that which gripped us in the 9/11/01 attack. Home-grown terrorism may be more of a reality than we once thought it would be.
Our crash course at “the University of Boston” may be just the beginning. Thankfully, we have an excellent example of how security forces can work together to alleviate the immediate dangers which face us.
And maybe, just maybe, those who would bring terrorism to our streets have seen what can happen if they act out. I would like to think that they would see that it won’t get them anywhere, and that the effort is useless.
Photo Credit: AP, Matt Rourke