• Rich Barlow

    Senior Writer

    Rich Barlow

    Rich Barlow is a senior writer at BU Today and Bostonia magazine. Perhaps the only native of Trenton, N.J., who will volunteer his birthplace without police interrogation, he graduated from Dartmouth College, spent 20 years as a small-town newspaper reporter, and is a former Boston Globe religion columnist, book reviewer, and occasional op-ed contributor. Profile

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There are 15 comments on Lessons from the Boston Marathon Bombings

  1. If we learned anything from this tragedy it is 1) that our government cannot protect us; 2) that terrorists can strike anywhere anytime and 3) that terrorists rarely attack the same target twice. That said, a populous that is vigilant and self-reliant is our best method of defending ourselves. The sheople who look to the police and government for solutions are sadly misguided and need to wake up. The shoe bomber and underwear bomber were thwarted by civilian passengers. The FBI new of Tsarnaev and dropped the ball. Police cannot be everywhere and terrorists will have new a “unexpected” plan for their next attack. Be vigilant, be self-reliant and be safe but never sacrifice your essential liberty for temporary security because your government tells you have to.

    1. Just curious . . . do you not think the residential sweep conducted in Watertown was a significant factor in Tsarnaev being forced to hole up in a backyard boat, which ultimately led to his capture? Do you think the “police state” tactics, as I’m sure you’d call them, of the authorities in this situation could have effectively led to his capture if Watertown “never” sacrificed essential liberty for temporary security because the government said so? Please be specific; I’m a fan of Ben Franklin quotes too, but platitudes are always nice until it comes to practical application. I’m just having a hard time finding anything constructive in your comment. Maybe you could check back in with Alex Jones, see what he has to say, and follow up.

      1. He was injured that is why he was holed up. So no, frankly I do not think he would have not hunkered down until dark anyway. It was also a citizen who found him after the police lifted the lock down; without may I remind you ever finding him. So do you really think the lock down was about finding him and protecting your safety when they lifted it without finding him? Are you really that naive?

    2. RE: “3) that terrorists rarely attack the same target twice.” The World Trade Center was attacked by terrorists twice – February 26, 1993 and September 11, 2001.

      Many lives were saved after the marathon bombings because of well trained EMTs, Fire, and Police – part of our government.

      1. What part of rarely do you not understand?

        I have no problems with ETM or police responding appropriately and effectively to any problem. And in fact I commend the Boston PD and everyone else including the private citizens who rose to occasion to help the injured in the immediate aftermath. I also commend the Boston PD for is subsequent investigation despite being stonewalled by the FBI. But I do have a problem with a militarized police exercise locking down of an entire city ostensibly searching for a perp from house to house and then lifting the lock down while the “reason” for the it remained at large. Why do you seen to have such a hard time seeing how nonsensical and ineffective this response was and how your acceptance of it opens the doors to erosions of liberty in the name of security?

  2. Interesting. Did they not discuss the stationing of the National Guard on the Common and in subways, the ranks of armored police vehicles on our roads, or the shutting down of 5 cities on the Friday after? Of all the events of that week to provide lessons for the future, one would think the militarization of a city would be a major one.

    But of course, if we honestly examined the pros and cons of filling the streets with armed people does, maybe we wouldn’t have the excuse to shut down Fenway during the World Series final or stop kids from wearing backpacks on college campuses near the marathon route.

  3. Thanks for this article. I think it’s also important to remember how many media outlets reported that there was a Saudi kid at the site, which led a lot of people to suspect that people of Middle Eastern descent were behind the bombing. I hope that at this point we’ve all learned that people of any background and any religion can do terrible acts, whether Caucasian, Middle Eastern, East Asian, Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, Jewish, etc. I am glad that (so far as I saw) there wasn’t too much prejudice coming through in the community and media, despite some people jumping to conclusions.

    1. And tell me according to your stellar research indicating that people of any background can commit such acts exactly how many Jews, Asians, Hindus, and Buddhists do you know of who have committed similar acts of terrorism on US soil in your lifetime?

        1. Ad hominem remarks with no substances only serve to make you look silly. Come on you two can do better than calling me names when I ask you for real data. And why attack Alex Jones? He has not even posted anything here.

        2. What is the problem? You deride and dismiss rather than address the point – which is a valid one. There is nothing civilized or intelligent about such behavior.

          Just say what you really mean “Don’t confuse me with the facts”.

          Same goes foe you anonymous. Call someone a bigot and end the conversation.

          We all know the ideology that motivated this act of terrorism. It was the same ideology behind 911 and the overwhelming majority of terrorist attacks around the world. That is not bigotry it is reality.

          Playing the ostrich out of a fear of offending or a fear of danger does not give you the right to call others bigots. You are not entitled to your own set of facts.

          Spare us the histrionics and address real issues.

  4. First, before we go rewriting history with 2nd rate college news articles, dead terrorist #1 was not killed during a gun fight with police, he was killed at the conclusion of one when his cowardly brother, almost dead terrorist #2, ran him over with a stolen SUV as he fled the scene and tossing more explosives at police that were at the time saving the life of MBTA Officer Dick Donahue.

    Second, who do you think those National Guardsmen were? Where do you think they live? What do they do when they are not serving part time? Some of those that stood posts around the blast sites, on the T in the days after and driving the armored vehicles or holding that perimeter in Watertown on that Friday attend classes with you today. They are quiet professionals that do their job when called, to add extra needed capabilities when your democratically elected Governor determines that they are needed. What would the alternative have been on Friday morning? What if almost dead terrorist #2 had chosen a house to hide in instead of a boat, and then perhaps he would have chosen a family to torment for 12 hours instead of scrawling hate speech on the inside of the boat as he did. Ask yourself what you would be writing here today if a family or families were murdered in their homes because the police didn’t act decisively as they did? Do us a favor, don’t make your rejection of authority and distrust for those that serve a suicide pact for the rest of us.

  5. I have never seen such a mentality of dependent victimhood in my entire life. What has happened to this country? What happened to spirit that showed the British the proverbial door, settled the west, and won WWII?

    But what bothers me most is your apparent misguided trust in the same government that failed to stop Tsarnaev plans in the first place and then lifted the lock down knowing full well that his brother was still at large possibly holed up in someone’s house terrorizing more innocent victims as you propose.

    May I also remind you that throughout history there have been many examples of naive well intentioned young men and women who volunteered to served their countries and in the process committed all sorts of atrocities in the name protecting their people. Just look at the misguide sheep who will soon be wearing hair cuts just like their feckless leader in the North Korea.

    I for one have seen enough of the failed policies of our government and the corruption at all levels to not trust it with anything.

  6. I pray for those that suffered. I pray for those that risk their own lives to protect us. I pray for those who will never get it, and I thank God everyday for the freedoms this country provides us. Those that are unhappy or anti-government, feel free to go live in another country and let me know how that works out for you. God Bless America

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