Photo by Kelly Bracken.
We, and I mean everyone in the United States, have just been through what President Obama called a "rough week." It started with the Boston Marathon bombing
; then somebody sent ricin to the president and to a senator; then a fertilizer plant explosion
blew much of the small town of West, Texas, literally off the map; and finally one officer was killed and one was wounded in a night of mayhem caused by the Boston bombing suspects. Americans and American law enforcement rose to meet these horrors and battle this evil in ways that can only make us all proud.
Millions of words have been written about the events of this week. And you are probably tired of them by now. After all, you will receive this weeks after the events that I am about to discuss. But forgive me this indulgence, for there are some random thoughts that I feel compelled to voice.
Tears welled in my eyes as I watched the people of Watertown, Mass., stand and applaud law enforcement and other public safety workers as they drove away with 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in an ambulance.
The killing and capture of the Tsarnaev brothers was not only a triumph of courageous and intelligent law enforcement, it was proof of the power of video surveillance and of the ability of citizens to capture evidence on cell phone cameras.
The 20-block perimeter established by police on Friday April 19 proved to be too small and serves as a reminder for all officers on perimeter duty to always be mindful of the possibility that the suspect could slip the noose and even possibly ambush them from behind.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer Sean Collier's tragic murder says two things about campus police. Number one, campus police are real cops facing real danger. Number two, they should all be carrying firearms. It is criminal for some campuses to send sworn, badged, uniformed officers out on patrol without firearms. For the record, the MIT police do carry duty weapons, but many of their colleagues at other universities work "naked." That has to end.
During their firefight with the bombing suspects, the suburban Watertown, Mass., police faced determined killers who not only shot at them but also attacked them with explosives. The Watertown officers won that battle. And that's a testament to training because you know the Watertown Police Department had never dealt with anything like that before. According to its Website the Watertown PD is 68 sworn, 13 civilian workers, and 26 crossing guards.
Some have said much of the Department of Homeland Security grant money spent after 9/11 was a waste. But if you watched the events in the suburbs of Boston unfold, you saw a lot of that money in action. The 30 or so agencies involved were using everything but WMD equipment, and thank God they had no need for that.
It is the belief of some misguided people that Islamist terrorists won't be driven to kill Americans if they only get to know how swell we are. The Tsarnaev brothers are an example of why that is horse excrement. Oh, and by the way, 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed attended Chowan University, a Baptist school in Murfreesboro, N.C. He then transferred to North Carolina A&T University in Greensboro where he earned a B.S. in mechanical engineering. He spent a lot of his youth in the good, old US of A. Do not believe for a minute that the ideology of the terrorists can be defeated with cheeseburgers and rock concerts.
Soapbox time. I'm tired of reporters and broadcasters referring to attacks like 9/11 and the Boston bombings as "disasters." They are attacks; they are atrocities; they are not disasters. And can we stop saying that people who had serious bodily damage inflicted upon them by our enemies are "injured?" You get "injured" in a car accident; you get wounded by an enemy attack in a time of war. An earthquake is a disaster; a bombing is an act of war.
Speaking of disasters, the Boston area was not the only place in this country where first responders demonstrated incredible courage during this "rough week." Volunteer firefighters and local Texas law enforcement responded to the West Fertilizer Plant fire and explosion. That's like running into hell. Many of them were still missing at presstime.
Finally, and I have to close on this note: Did you ever think an Elvis impersonator from Mississippi would be charged with trying to kill the President of the United States by sending ricin to the White House? Too weird to be true? Maybe. At presstime the charges were dropped.