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The Boston lockdown: safety or overkill?

Posted by Joanna Weiss  April 22, 2013 12:39 PM

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Boston strong, yes. And, on Friday, Boston stuck. You may have been among the thousands who were urged to stay in place during the manhunt for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Or you may have watched from afar as the city fell into uncomfortable silence: Streets empty and businesses shuttered. (Except for Dunkin' Donuts. Of course.)

The lockdown was inconvenient for many. Awkward for some. And when Tsarnaev was finally found -- hiding in a boat in a Watertown backyard -- the universe rang with questions. Given that he'd escaped on foot, did we really need to shut down all of Roslindale? Or, given the fear that he might have a bomb, was this an act of caution that could have saved lives?

Post your thoughts in the comments below, or tweet us at the hashtag #Bostonlockdown. In the meantime, have a look at some reactions:

If it was safe enough for Dunkin' Donuts workers...

harmon.png.jpgFriday’s lockdown was more than an abundance of caution. It was an overreaction. Hundreds of millions of dollars were lost to the local economy. Yet authorities urged some Dunkin’ Donuts stores to remain open for the convenience of officers while Morgan Stanley, Fidelity Investments and hundreds of other businesses, large and small, shut down. If Dunkin’ Donuts workers could safely venture forth to satisfy Munchkins runs, then people outside of Watertown and abutting communities could have gone to work.
Lawrence Harmon
Globe columnist

A savvy public, leaving space for police

si.jpgThere’s a difference between paralysis and stillness. Stillness is deliberate. It was a tool – a tactical move. The police did not order us to stay in our houses – they requested it, and we complied, not because we were terrorized and not because we were sheep to the police state, but because we knew that in doing so, we left the police and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev as the only pieces out on the board. We wanted him captured. For us, staying indoors on Friday was no different from staying in during a winter storm so that the snowplows could clear the streets. We were giving the professionals room to work.
S.I. Rosenbaum, @sirosenbaum
Desperation Device

Was a lockdown what terrorists wanted?

Under what circumstances is it appropriate to allow the abberrant behavior of a suspected killer on the loose to bring a region to a standstill? Will the prospect of paralyzing the public and its economy empower other deviants to engage in similar heinous crimes?
Steve Kramer, Medfield
Letter to the Globe

Or was it the perfect message for terrorists?


The economy will survive

A lot of people are concerned about the cost to the
city of Boston that the lockdown incurred. Two points: first, we have
severe weather incidents every year with similar effects on business, and
our economy doesn’t collapse; second, pretty much every single last person
in the greater Boston area would personally sign the check paid out of our
taxes to see the marathon bombers taken off the streets. We wanted this.
Melissa Elliott, @0xabad1dea
0xabad1dea on Tumblr

All's well that ends well?


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About Boston.comment

weiss.jpegBoston.comment is an exchange for ideas about Boston and beyond, brought to you by the Boston Globe editorial page and edited by Globe columnist Joanna Weiss. We're the sponsor of's #LabDebates and the creator of the Choose Your Own Adventure mayoral game.

Our producer is Alex Pearlman, with contributions (and sea monsters) from Noah Guiney. To join the conversation, post a comment, tweet with our daily hashtag, or follow us on Twitter @BostonComment.

A note on comments: Be honest, be open, be polite. And be warned: Personal attacks will be removed.

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