Boston's a Ghost Town: Is That a Smart Move?
Some worry about the precedent set
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Apr 19, 2013 3:24 PM CDT
The usually busy Kenmore Square in Boston is virtually deserted at lunchtime Friday.   (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

(Newser) – As the manhunt for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev continues, one of the questions getting tossed around is whether the powers-that-be overreacted by shutting down the city of Boston. (Business Insider rounds up some of the remarkable photos being tweeted of the "ghost town.") Some samples:

  • Nate Silver of the New York Times, via tweet: "Can't wait til they catch the bastard, but it's valid to inquire about the tangible and intangible costs of shutting a whole city down."
  • Allahpundit, Hot Air: "You don’t want people milling about in a park when there’s a guy with a suicide vest, guns, and ammo on the loose. But then, murder suspects are on the loose all the time in big cities and nothing shuts down for them, even though in theory they’re just as likely to go out in a blaze of nutty glory among a crowd. If you’re an aspiring terrorist, knowing that you can shut down a city for a day must be encouraging."
  • Andrew Sullivan, the Dish: "I take Allahpundit’s point. If we discover this is a function of two twenty-something loser religious fanatics, what kind of precedent are we setting?"
  • First line in Bloomberg report: "An American hub of finance and technology was immobilized Friday by a terrorist manhunt that idled or distracted more than 1.5 million workers."
  • Quartz reports that "shut-it-down" has evolved into the go-to response for cities in any kind of emergency. It quotes a security analyst calling today's decision smart: "The priority is to get everyone off the streets," he says. "You have a person who has shown the ability to use explosives and has firearms. That puts the public at risk, and we have learned that we have a responsibility to prevent further injury to the public."

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Showing 3 of 47 comments
quincyconscience
Apr 20, 2013 10:24 AM CDT
Boston was not shut down. There was no penalty for those who opened businesses or walked around. A friend of mine went around Boston, no police even talked to him. It was voluntary, business and people didn't want to walk around knowing the police couldn't protect them.
greenlantern1
Apr 20, 2013 9:29 AM CDT
Thanks to Eric Holder, and the FBI, those terrorists have been eliminated! Also, thanks to the FBI, Viktor Bout is behind bars! He was a Russian arms dealer. He tried to sell arms to Colombian outlaws. They wanted to murder American pilots! The FBI nabbed him! Oliver North is a spokesman for the NRA! Remember when he sold arms to Ahminejad's mentor, Ayatollah Khomeni?
GaryUSA
Apr 20, 2013 3:26 AM CDT
When the powers-that-be can arbitrarily shut down an entire city, imprison all the residents, and send the police door-to-door to search houses as though they're prison cells...it's time for the voters to take away their power. With all the lawyers in Boston, I hope at least a few of them resent the wannabe prison wardens enough to sue the hell out of them. As allowing people with Napoleon complexes to turn a large American city into a minimum security prison clearly sets a bad precedent. Half the population is eating, drinking, or smoking themselves to death, so I seriously doubt they're worried about one chance in a million of being killed by a terriorist wearing a suicide vest. Life is full of risks...you risk being murdered by armed robbers everyday, and you can be killed just by driving to work. Boston is not a state prison, so give residents the freedom to decide what risks to take!