More than a week following the brutal Boston Marathon bombings, the rest of the country has breathed a sigh of relief, and, for the most part, has stepped back a bit from their television screens.
With the tireless hunt for two individuals over, another discussion arises surrounding protocol if another event with potential to bring a city to its knees might occur.
After identifying the suspects, law enforcement officials told residents of Boston and the surrounding suburbs, including Watertown, where suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was found Friday night, to “shelter in place,” effectively shutting down a major metropolitan area for about 10 hours.
The FBI, Boston and Watertown police departments and other law enforcement agencies deserve plenty of credit and thanks for catching Tsarnaev, but making a precedent out of locking down a city to search for a suspect would be a mistake.
This was a reaction made in the aftermath of a terrorist attack in the heart of one of America’s iconic cities.
Any law enforcement agency looking to Boston as an example of how to catch a suspect wanted for murder or some other serious crime is not thinking straight.
Shutting down entire cities at will will set the country down the wrong path.
With Boston on lockdown, residents were asked to remain in their homes, or wherever they happened to be when the “shelter-in-order” advisory was announced, only to be evacuated by the FBI to search their homes within the same day.
Not only will a habitual shutting down of cities set the country down the wrong path, but the measures taken have the possibility of instilling a heightened fear or paranoia into America.
Although Boston residents were kept safe, they were also isolated from the community when a sense of solidarity and support was most needed.
Indeed, authorities lifted the lockdown, and soon Tsarnaev was located a couple blocks outside of the perimeter they set up, thanks to the watchful eyes of a Watertown resident.
So, why not use that as the precedent?
Law enforcement told locals to be on the lookout for suspicious behavior and continued to look for Tsarnaev on their own without a lockdown. That proved successful, and did nothing to hurt local businesses or infringe upon our rights, which should be taken into consideration before deciding to lockdown a city.