Thanks to those who were willing to appear on camera, we can now watch interviews on You Tube and know what it was actually like to have martial law imposed on the streets of Watertown during the “supposed” manhunt for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
I say “supposed” for a reason, but I’ll get to that later.
Until I saw these videos, I assumed that persons in the affected areas received a reverse 9-1-1 call advising them to stay inside for their own safety and to shelter in place while police activity connected to the recent bombings at the Boston Marathon was conducted… blah, blah, blah.
I pictured people taking a forced day off from work, staying home, hunkering down in front of the TV with frequent breaks to look out their windows. I was not prepared for the stories those who lived through the experience told later that were posted on You Tube. When I heard them, I was outraged.
The details of those poor peoples’ experiences disturbed me on so many levels. I’m sure they did their best to cooperate and tried to tell themselves that they were being given no information because the police were unable to tell them what they themselves did not know, such as when they would be allowed back in. Obviously the police would have been in a heightened state of alert and therefore not in the most patient of moods, but the way some of the elderly were treated, the way a diabetic was not given time to gather her necessary medication, the way some were barely given time to put on their shoes is more reminiscent of the Gestapo driving Jews and sympathizers from their homes.
Homeowners were assured their property would be secured after it was searched only to return home many hours later to find lights and TVs still on, front and back doors open. I can only imagine their fury – I share it. For one thing, I have pets. Cats tend to roam if given the chance. If I had returned home to find my pets missing – well… I would have wanted to find and do bodily harm to the person who made their way of escape possible. Pet owners are funny like that.
I have heard some gun owners had their legally-owned weapons confiscated. That fact, if true, is a whole other level of disturbing.
You would think that entire streets were evacuated but this was not the case. Houses in Watertown seemed to be selected. We know this from the home videos shot and posted by individuals who remained behind. Their videos allowed us to see some detail of the “capture.”
That fact really makes me wonder. Were houses specially targeted for evacuation if weapons were suspected to be inside? Were some residents suspected as being sympathetic or friendly to Tsarnaev and therefore possibly harboring him? Were police hoping to confiscate cash, drugs or technology? Were they wanting to empty out houses that would have given those inside a too-clear, too-strategic view of what was about to take place because those supposedly hunting Dzhokhar already knew where he was?
Whatever the reason certain houses were chosen for evacuation, I don’t like it. The Constitution seems not to be worth the parchment it is written on these days. I don’t like that either.
This past February, a large SWAT team entered a neighborhood not far from my own, raiding a home on suspicion of involvement in an armed robbery. Residents were scared silly by the sight of a tank rolling down the street. I don’t blame them.
I had quite forgotten that little news story. After I stumbled upon these videos of interviews with Watertown residents I recalled it and realized this can suddenly happen anywhere.
So I’m having a “What if it was me?” moment.
It is hard to think in chaos. To manage what would be quite an emotionally stressful situation you have to have a plan already in place. The time to come up with one is not when the hurricane has already made landfall or the wildfire is licking at the base of the mailbox.
It is incredible to think that I must come up with an emergency preparedness plan in the event that martial law is suddenly declared in America, the land of the free, but I can not escape the feeling that formulating one would indeed be a prudent course of action.
Is it possible that Americans who legally own guns and display “Property Protected by Smith & Wesson” type signs to warn criminals will begin to remove these signs from their windows to discourage targeting by law enforcement during staged events of home invasion by armed SWAT teams? Is it possible that Americans will begin to keep a bag packed and readily accessible with items to be taken in the event they are suddenly evicted from their own home during an “exercise?”
Is it possible that Americans will begin investing in home security systems with remote monitoring capabilities in record numbers? Will hidden cameras begin to be the standard in every room, in every home? Will homes begin to be retrofit with bullet-proof, one-way glass and steel-core doors that can’t be easily breached? Will everyone begin to carry cheap burner phones from Walmart even when their income would allow for a much pricier smart phone? Will we all finally password-protect our computers to prevent police from sitting down and viewing our saved documents at their leisure once we are ushered out the door of our own home?
That last idea may not be necessary – they likely already know. And that brings me to my last question:
Is this a country I still wish to live in?