I’m getting really tired reading all these opinions from people all around the country trying to tell us in Boston that we were violated by the police and military in what was a temporary experimentation in creating a police state. Whether to support their asinine existing political agendas or whatever, I don’t know, but I need to get some stuff off my chest.
As someone who spent 100% of his time in the city from the moment the bombing occurred to the time the suspects were caught, here’s what I observed pertaining to most of the convictions I hear time and time again from people who weren’t even there:
“The city lockdown was a violation of individual liberty and freedoms. The vast police presence was designed as a show of force to instill fear and control the public.”
I’m diving head-first into the most BS statement. This has got to be the one. First, and I’m serious here, the lockdown didn’t even last one full day. It took place from early morning Friday the 19th to about 5 or 6 PM that evening: in total, about one work day. The only place that was closed up until friday was Copley Square and the Copley subway station, understandable as it was a crime scene. The city ran normally — shaken, yes — but normally for that entire week, even though we knew that there were two or more people still out there responsible for the attack.
The actual lockdown on Friday wasn’t anywhere near as extreme as it may have seemed in the media. Don’t be fooled by photos showing “Boston as a ghost town.” As a photographer, why would you display the photos showing otherwise? That’s just boring. Wait for just the right moment and indeed it looked like a ghost town. The lockdown was only a police advisory for your own safety. Kind of like a severe weather advisory. (Hey the MBTA gets shut down for those, too!) You could go outside, sure, but you were warned. There were not police and military personnel outside of everyone’s homes and apartment buildings forcing them to stay inside. If you went outside, police didn’t force you back in. I live on Commonwealth Avenue in Allston about 1 mile away from where all the action was happening in Watertown. There were cars driving down the street, much fewer than normal yes, but people were still going places. I commonly saw people walking down the sidewalks on both sides of the street. I even saw kids playing with a sprinkler outside the building across from mine. They didn’t look violated of their liberties to me, and we weren’t that far from the epicenter.
Most of us stayed indoors because, well, why wouldn’t you? Who wasn’t glued to news channels or websites, watching the events unfold as they were happening that day? — You know, NOT hiding under our bedsheets crying for the boogieman to go away. Me? The weather was meh, why go out? Stay in, clean up a little, draw in photoshop, watch the news… It was a more or less average day off from work.
Above: What my neighborhood looked like during the lockdown. Few cars… no people… no trains… Actually this photo was taken on a completely different day like a month or so before the bombings even happened, but if I told you it was taken during the lockdown, it adds a cool oppressive vibe to it that gets you all riled up!
Yeah, businesses were closed. That sucked for a lot of people who lost a days wages, (including me,) but ask anyone here whether it really affected them, and I’m sure much more than not you’ll get the response “well they got the guys didn’t they?” The positive effect of knowing the suspects had been caught was healthier for the city the next day (and every day after) than anything else.
Remember that Boston is an EXCEEDINGLY small city. Even its metropolitan area is small. It’s maybe 5 or 6 miles square. You can walk across the entire metro area in just under two hours or so. It’s entirely possible that downtown businesses could have remained open with no ill effect on the operations occurring between Cambridge and Watertown. But as this has never happened before in the history of Boston, the decision was to take no chances that day, minimize possibilities for additional loss of life. The suspects, after all, were still capable of an attack, and since everything is so close to each other here, it’s not impossible that it could happen anywhere. For all the police knew, the initial track down of the suspects could have turned into a dangerous chase through the middle of the city. Again,why chance it?
And yeah, people celebrated with the police directly after Suspect #2 was caught. Ever see police officers high-five civilians? I did. It was awesome.
The nutjobs are blowing it way out of proportion. “The public cooperated with the police because they had no choice. When fully automatic battle rifle-equipped soldiers force you to cooperate, that’s your only choice” Give me a fucking break. The only people who can speak about that happening are a very select few in the small area of Watertown where the manhunt happened. And even then, I doubt those people were treated with malicious intent. But, I can’t speak for them. And neither can you.
“The people of Boston gave into the terrorists with fear. They stayed in their homes, cowering.”
I’ve heard countless non-Boston dwellers claim that the city was cowering in fear, that we hid in our homes for a whole week and succumbed to the shock of the events. You know what DIDN’T happen in Boston that week? Exactly what I just described. The three days after the bombings, I went out for some walks, got a gyro from a food truck near Kenmore and ate it in the BU school of music while listening to students practice. I went to the park with my girlfriend and pet bunny to enjoy the nice weather and get some exercise. There were people out and about doing their daily things. They went to work. Went out to eat. Went to the gym. Went to class. Rode their bikes. Sure, not in or around Copley, but that’s only one small-ish section of the city. I’d hardly call that “everyone cowering in fear in their homes.”
“They shouldn’t have killed Suspect #1. Whatever happened to ‘innocent until proven guilty?’”
In an ideal world, no they shouldn’t have — and I really don’t think the plan WAS to kill him. Plus, I mean seriously, if you are visibly and actively firing upon police (even gunning one down) who have surrounded your house, I think it’s safe to say — regardless of whether or not you’re a suspect of a bombing — you’re a threat that probably has to be dealt with immediately. Reports also state the brother was incapacitated by police, but was actually killed by his younger brother when he frantically ran him over with the get-away vehicle.
I would’ve liked to have seen the guy caught and questioned. But it didn’t turn out that way.
“If the US overreacted this badly to a 19-year-old-honors-student gone bad, that’s sending the wrong messages to terrorists everywhere to have a go at us.”
It’s hard for me to comment on this one. I have bias of living in the city where this happened, so of course I wanted a quick resolve so life could go on normally again. I honestly thought months would go by without any leads — nevermind closure — surfacing from the attacks. Four days after the attacks, the guys are identified and caught on the fifth day? I dunno, it may have been an overreaction with thousands of forces at the cities disposal, but damn were we pumped to get it over with THAT fast.
The reaction for shutting down parts of the city and services and such may send out the wrong signal, sure. So might dispatching shitloads of police and military. Makes you think a terrorist would jump on that recognition to go bigger and badder. But the manhunt side of it is present, too. Unless one commits the crime without fear of getting caught, okay, nothing will stop you, might as well commit suicide in the means of the attack. But for many others, the fear of the resulting manhunt is deterrence. Your photo plastered all over the internet and the news. Thousands of cops and the FBI looking for you. It WOULD be only a matter of time before you’re caught.
Boston may have gone a bit too far. I also think if it didn’t, there would be people slamming it for not going far enough.
Also, for the record, stop referring to him as a 19-year-old-honor-student. He’s not a kid. He’s old enough to know full well what he was going to do, the effects of what he was going to do, and the consequences of his actions. Describing such a person to belittle his actions and the city affected by his actions is despicable.
“The bombings were small. No, like, really small. Only a few dead and under 200 injured. All this for just that? I’d like to remind you of 9/11. That’s true terrorism. Is this going to be a thing for regular crimes now?”
It’s easy to say that when it didn’t happen in your city. I can say, absolutely, that the events of 9/11 are still more impactful and chilling to most anyone in Boston than the events of the marathon (who were not directly affected or nearby the bombings, that is). But this isn’t a contest. As I’ve said, Boston is a really small place. Shit like this just doesn’t happen every day here.
There are over 100 known definitions and qualifiers for “terrorism.” The Tsarnaev brothers were criminal radicals in reality, (and not very good ones at that,) who committed an act of senseless violence on completely innocent people. The same kind of people who might commit a school shooting, but with the knowhow to create and implement explosives. School shootings and bombings are a kind of terrorism because they emotionally charge the public with all sorts of topics from gun control to… well, this very rant. Convenience stores and banks get held up all the time, but you tend not to hear them become the focus of debate for days and weeks onward after it happens. That’s sort of the dividing line for me.
The term terrorism carries, these days, images of 9/11 and controversial destruction on a large scale. But really, just as a Weapon of Mass Destruction doesn’t have to be a nuclear device, a terrorist attack doesn’t have to kill thousands of people to clear the threshold.
In the days after the Boston bombings and even after the suspects were caught, crime did continue as normal in Boston. There were still shootings in Dorchester. Fights and stabbings between local rivals. They weren’t met with brute military force and city lockdowns to deal with them. It was regular police duty for those incidents. And will continue to be.
It wasn’t a police state. It isn’t a police state.
Alright. I’m done, had enough of this. Obviously these are mostly just my opinions and observations. I’m not speaking for the whole of Boston. But I seriously think I’m not far off from the general consensus here.
Thanks for reading all of this if you did, it means a lot to us.
Some shots from a recent photo dump. Q3-Q4 2012.
Taken in/around Boston and Cambridge, MA.
Sony Alpha SLT-A77, 16-50mm f2.8
Sony CyberShot RX100
Sony NEX-5N, FD 75-200 f4.5
Canon AE-1 Program, 28mm f2.8, Kodak Elite 400
The conditions in Boston, Right Now
[5:00 PM of Winter Storm Nemo]
Q&A: This isn’t UNUSUALLY snowy, but Boston is expected to get anywhere between 1 to 2 feet of snow tonight in one big blizzard, which IS higher than usual in one go. Public transit is shut down, all businesses are closed. New England takes storms like this seriously to prevent unnecessary injury and stress from accidents on the roads.
Edit: Added more pictures taken at around 1 to 2 AM.
Some photos I took very very early this morning.
Sony Alpha 77, 16-50mm 2.8
Around Central Square, Cambridge. (Except for the one of Super 88, Allston.)
Sony A77 + 16-50mm f2.8
And just wanted to say it is SO goddamn cool to romp around my town (Boston) some 250 years ago. So many landmarks I recognize even before being told what they are! All at 1/3 scale distance! Good job Ubi, you did my city right. *smug smile*
I recently picked up a Canon AE-1 Program. My second ever-owned film camera, and my first 35mm SLR camera. (My first film camera was an old Kodak 110-cartridge film toy camera.)
Back when I had my Sony NEX-5N, I owned a selection of Canon FD lenses for it for some fun, cheap creative flexibility.
Well, I’ve since sold the NEX-5N to move up to the full-size Sony SLT-A77, which the FD lenses are no longer compatible with. So, instead of selling the selection of FD lenses I had, I decided to give them new use by experimenting with 35mm film photography.
These are a couple of the shots I took with my first (ever) roll of film with the camera, a roll of 400 speed Kodak color. Nothing special film — got it from a local general store for cheap. I got the camera from eBay, and as you can see in the last picture, it’s in pretty amazing condition. It looks, feels, and operates just like new. Very impressive considering it only cost me $60 with free shipping. (Mix that with the 50mm f1.4 lens, and you get a pretty fantastic piece of full frame kit for only $100.)
I’m a hobbyist photographer, so it’s interesting to me (after SO MANY years of digital shooting) that I just won’t know what the images will look like until after they’re developed. There’s quite a bit of excitement about seeing how they’ve turned out, if you got what you wanted, or even be surprised at how you ended up with something you weren’t even expecting. All in all, using this camera is going to be an interesting confidence builder to look for good shots and make them count, rather than just snapping away like a maniac because you can always just delete them later.
Anyway, this is just my first roll. I need to get more film.
It might not show that much in my drawing (okay it doesn’t show at all in my drawing) but I love cities and skyscrapers. I think it has to do with visiting New York so many times. I love Kansas, but it doesn’t have that city atmosphere at all, even downtown pales in comparison. Anyway, I’ve been trying to get myself to draw more cityscapes because God knows I draw enough people already. Once I get through plotting grids and figuring out the perspective I actually like drawing the buildings, but it’s that technical stage that I have a hard getting myself through.
So, I decided to try approaching buildings in a similar way to people. When you think about it, pieces of architecture can have their own personality; some structures are tall, others are short, some are angular, some are round, some are old and decrepit, some are sleek and new, and so on. They all have their own character. I decided to do some speed paints and gestural doodles with buildings to get myself into that mindset. Unfortunately…buildings still need straight lines. I’ll figure this out somehow. DX
tl;dr My characters live in Boston so I tried drawings some scenes/studies and here’s a few of them.
You DO know I live in Boston, right? Hahah I immediately recognized that as 111 Huntington Avenue and John Hancock Place. (Though I might make that one a bit broader — the hancock tower is thin but BROAD. It can look ridiculous from some angles. http://g.co/maps/dyv56 — Thin from this side… http://g.co/maps/wxvrg and appears as thin as a piece of paper from this side! So odd.) And of course Prudential and Copley Plaza in the larger image.
A few locations I might suggest snooping around:
http://g.co/maps/9ty3k - The South Boston / Fan Pier industrial/commercial park. Home of ship repair drydocks, the shipping yards, Design Center Place, Boston’s WTC, ICA, and Expo Center. It’s a big up-and-coming sector with artist studios, galleries, and modern-alternative living mixed among industry and nightlife. http://g.co/maps/ff93n
http://g.co/maps/92mmy - Our Chinatown is small, (about 4 square blocks,) but neat. .. Well actually it’s dirty. But safe. Lots of great bakeries in there. http://g.co/maps/ss5r5 It also has a small park complete with a little bamboo grove, and places for the old men to gather around and play xhiangqi.
http://g.co/maps/dse6z - The Greenway around the North End, known generally as Haymarket Square. There’s a popular event that goes on here every weekend which is an open-air market in which the streets in the surrounding area fill with booths from local farmers and growers. Check out photos that turn up in this search. You can get some killer deals, and its a really fun atmosphere in the summer, especially with the parks nearby. A 3Lb bag of cherries for $1.00, eat em’ the rest of your day out.
Let me know if you ever need any tips or hints about Boston, well-known local events, recent historical events (big dig?) and the impacts on daily life.
(second response consolidated to this post for cleanliness)
You may also want to take a look at my Boston photography on DeviantART. All of it has been taken within various parts of Boston and represent my *feel* for the city.
111 Huntington Ave / Prudential is in an area of the city known as Copley/Back Bay. Copley more specifically refers to the commercial areas spanning Newbury Street, Beacon Street, and Commonwealth in that long corridor straight. Newbury Street is famous for practically being an outdoor mall the whole way down. It’s one of the most essential shopping locations in the city. The areas in back of the Pru are known as Back Bay, a more residential-centric area. It tends to be of moderate-to-high wealth income citizens.
The official nickname of Boston is “The Walking City,” and it’s no joke. Boston is a nucleus of a city — if you compare the downtown Boston area relative in size to Logan Airport across the bay, you’ll see that the airport is actually larger. You can take public transportation to just about anywhere in the city, but it’s common for most people to just walk because it just might be faster. And if you have a bike, you can get just about anywhere inside of 20 minutes. I commonly walk from my Apartment in Brighton to Kenmore / Copley all the time. Boston had the first underground subway in the United States, so it’s also the oldest. Due to that, the Green Line (which follows those original tunnels,) has size restrictions which has proven a bit problematic with Boston’s ever-growing economy. The Green-Line is classified as “Light Rail,” due to its slower moving pace and small cars. The other lines, most notably the red, are considered “Rapid Transit” rail. Most people don’t mind the red line, because it’s fully underground, the cars are about of average New York size, and they move very fast comparatively. Most Green-Line subway stations are under renovation due to their age, (and have been for years,) to try to give them a more modern appeal. It’s commonplace to find a Green train either broken down and trying to restart, or needing to be shut-down and restarted after each stop to eliminate glitches (such as a door not closing.) Most people rely on the Green line to get to class or work, but they don’t favor it. It’s incredibly slow moving. A trip from the end of the B-Line all the way to Lechmere taking roughtly 45-minutes to an hour depending on the time of day. Expect to wait several trains during rush hour, as green line trains pack-up to the point of suffocation. The subway systems do get used, a LOT. To say that the subway/surface rail is the least used form of transportation is skewed information because the trains (again depending on time of day) tend to fill to system capacity. By comparison, more people just walk.
Note: You can tell if someone is not a bonafide local because you actually LIKE the MBTA and the rather mediocre service it provides.
As for the schools, a lot of schools do have their own fields. For those that don’t, they borrow the fields of other nearby schools for practices and games. You can sometimes see entire teams on public transportation headed over to borrow a field. As for runners, it’s very common to find groups of students all running down the sidewalks to train for track & field.