Only after the curfew in Watertown, Massachusetts was lifted and alert resident David Hanberry went outside his home to get a smoke, according to news reports, did the case of the Boston Marathon bombing manhunt for suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev crack open. That was when Hanberry saw blood on the tarp of his dry-docked boat and called the police.

Up until that time, a wide assortment of local, state, and federal officials were engaged in a dragnet that essentially shut down the City of Boston, and included house-to-house searches in the neighborhoods of Watertown, Mass. and New Bedford, Mass., the latter being near where 19-year-old Russian immigrant Dzhokhar Tsarnaev had enrolled in college. Tsarnaev, a Muslim from the Dagestan area of Russia that abuts Chechnya, became a U.S. citizen on September 11 of last year.

In essence, the lessons from the Boston Marathon mean that the following procedures employed in the week-long manhunt proved to be completely ineffective in apprehending Tsarnaev:

• House-to-house searches in a dragnet-style search;

• Use of military-style helicopters across the state;

• Use of tanks and armored vehicles on the streets of Boston, Cambridge, Watertown, and New Bedford;

• Shutting down the city, except for limited coffee shops;

• Stopping all public transportation;

• Banning taxi service across the City of Boston; and

• Abandoning the federal Posse Comitatus law banning the use of soldiers in law enforcement.

Moreover, the use of curfews in a number of towns actually likely delayed apprehension of the suspect, as the curfew essentially took more than a million pairs of eyes off possible getaway scenes.

Continue reading →