A Novel Way to Improve on Boston’s Daylong Lockdown

As Boston considers how the lockdown might have been better executed, here's the worst idea we've read.


A deserted Central Square during Boston’s lockdown. Credit: Jason Schwartz

In the wake of an unprecedented city-wide lockdown last Friday, there’s been much discussion of how authorities ought to have handled the situation—whether it was right to suspend all activity in the city for a day while they searched for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. It is in that atmosphere of thoughtful retrospection that “Vote3rdpartynow,” a contributor to the Massachusetts Republican blog Red Mass Group, posts his suggestion, which Red Mass Group promoted to the blog’s front page. It is simply too bizarre to leave unnoted.

His thesis: Americans own a lot of guns, and they should use them to look for the next Dzhokhar Tsarnaev—whoever the next suspected terrorist-on-the-run may be—themselves. This is similar to an idea expressed inelegantly by an Arkansas State Representative during the lockdown. That tweet from afar, arguing that Massachusetts citizens might be better off armed with AR-15s and a can-do attitude, didn’t go over so well here. But our Red Mass Group blogger here bravely advances his version anyway.

He begins by quoting Japan’s Admiral Yamamoto: “You cannot invade mainland United States, there will be a gun behind every blade of grass.”  It does not bode well for the rest of the post that this is, in all likelihood, an entirely apocryphal quote often used by Second Amendment advocates. But anyway, he continues:

Trust me, we will regret it if the next time this happens we cower like sissies behind the couch.  That is what they want – fear from us.

Instead, “Vote3rdPartyNow” plans to take action:

If and when terrorism comes to my town, and I am faced with the question of how best to defend my wife, children and property the answer will not be to hide and scream like a girl and wait for some bureaucrat to lead the charge.  Nope, I will not allow my yard to be an occupied territory of a radical Islamist or any other enemy combatant.  I intend to fight…

What would you do if terrorists came to your yard – or when they come to your yard?  Will you run and hide – or will you get out your weapons, still protected by the second amendment, and shoot the next terrorist that runs across your front yard?

Yeah, what could go wrong in this plan? Just a tip: Do not shoot anyone who runs across your front lawn, no matter if that person looks like the suspected bomber whose face you saw on the news. Even if you do not accidentally shoot someone who isn’t a terrorist, you’ll face a pretty big legal hassle for having summarily executed a suspect in an active police investigation. While gun ownership is protected by the Second Amendment, shooting people who trespass on your front lawn because you suspect them of terrorism is, well, somewhat in conflict with our other constitutional rights to a trial by a jury of our peers, etc.

“Every time this happens we have to learn how to do it better the next time around,” Vote3rdPartyNow concludes. This is a great point, one we’re pretty sure everyone is mulling this week. “Wouldn’t guns help the situation?” he adds. There, we’d imagine he’s going to be greeted with a bit more dissent.