Friday, April 26, 2012
Friday, April 19, 2013
2:33 AM. Who the hell is calling at this hour?
"This is Detective Connors of the Watertown Police Department. There is an active incident in Watertown right now. Chief Deveaux is asking all East Watertown residents to remain in their houses. If you see or hear anything suspicious please call 617-972-6500."
Now it's personal. One of the Boston Marathon bombers is apparently holed up in a house a mile and half from my home in Watertown. Near one of my favorite restaurants. Near the place I get my car washed. Right off Arsenal Street, one of the busiest thoroughfares in Watertown.
Governor Deval Patrick asked people who live in the entire city of Boston, as well as the nearby communities of Watertown, Waltham, Newton, Belmont, Cambridge, to “shelter in place” — stay inside and not open their doors to anyone, except police with proper identification. That’s over a million people.
Now it's personal. I set my home alarm. For the first time in my life I do not feel secure in my own home. An act of terror rocked the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday, April 15, Patriots' Day. Improbably, the younger of the two bombers identified by the FBI may be making his last stand in an area I drive by everyday. At this moment, he could be on foot in the shadows, like a cornered rat, looking for another refuge. In the semi consciousness of sleep, I register every noise. If I cannot automatically classify it, I wheel out of bed and peek through the shade. I am on edge.
Late last night, the two bombers highjacked an SUV at a 7-Eleven, shot and killed an MIT police officer as he sat in his car, and led police on a bloody shootout as the SUV raced down a local streets. Hundreds of rounds were fired. One of the bombers, the older brother, was killed in the chase. His younger brother is in hiding in Watertown, my hometown for over 40 years. I recognize every landmark in the background as CNN engages in nonstop coverage. My hometown is a giant televised crime scene. This is surreal.
Hundreds if not thousands of state, local, and federal law enforcement agents of every stripe are forming a thick collar around that neighborhood a mile away. The street outside my door, normally buzzing with UPS trucks, neighbors driving or walking to and fro, and teenagers heading for Victory Field, is empty. Businesses, schools, the public transportation system of buses and subways – closed. A “Shelter in place” advisory to all. Unprecedented.
Now it's personal. Since about 2:45 PM on Monday, I realized the Boston Marathon would never be the same. As of 2:33 AM, my tiny, under the radar, unassuming, adopted hometown is in the shadow of that horrible act.
Terror used to be abstract. It happened somewhere else. New York City on September 11, Oklahoma City in 1995, and now Boston. The scene of Patriot’s Day carnage will not disappear. We will still fill Fenway Park and the TD Garden and Gillette Stadium and cheer for our hometown teams. Yes, and run in the marathon.
After Monday, it will be more than a city crazy about its sports teams and traditions. It will be an act of defiance.