Benjamin Franklin said it a quarter of a Millenium ago

“Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

The United States of America – wanted or not – are still the city on the hill. Everybody looks up (though more often down, these days) on the United States of America. There has never been a day, when so little temporary safety was purchased with such an enormous loss of the essential liberty of a Million people outside of war or fascism.

What will be the result of this insult of humanity we witnessed today? What will we say when a dictator locks down a city in pursuit of some sort of crime? What will we say when Russia locks down Novosibirsk or St. Petersburg? What will we say China locks down Harbin? What will we say, knowing that they can always point to Boston and say: But you did the same!

The enormity of this loss of liberty is impossible to grasp. Had there been a movie as little as two days ago, of a million people in lock-down to facilitate the hunt on a single terrorist, I would have said this is unrealistic. Not even the United States would do this. But it did happen. And not in a state of all-out fear either, but calm and orderly, as if giving up such basic rights as leaving your home was an everyday business.

An incredible day has ended, after which the United States will never look the same to me again. From this day on, the question I will ask will not be whether the United States is on its way to some kind of fascism or another, but how far it has progressed and if there is still a path left in another direction.

Meanwhile the suspect has been arrested. This doesn’t change a thing about this assessment. It is a terrible day for basic civil liberties. The suspect will not be notified, as required by law, of his right to a lawyer and his right to be silent. A “public safety exception” is cited to justify this breach of basic civil law.

The BBC says that the suspect was not found by police, but by a local resident who noticed blood on the tarp over the boat where he was hiding. This could only happen, of course, once the lock down was over. Had the lock down lasted until nightfall, he would not have been found.


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