It appears, from news stories this morning, that the Boston situation has at least partially brought to a close. Granted, it was at the cost of another life, and a running gun battle in the streets to Boston and its suburbs, but suspects have been identified, the subsequently dispatched or pursued vigorously. This, in its course, is a dynamic situation in which the application of well armed police officers and armored vehicles is appropriate. Pity we have to deal with their peace time operations, though.
The next question, of course, is the why. I would hope that the remaining suspect at least has time to proclaim his intentions for the day before meeting with his doom. I would imagine he is none too keen in the prospect of capture; should he prefer death, I little doubt that the officers in pursuit shan't unnecessarily object to obliging him. It appears that there may be some ties to the Chechen rebels- if so, I am not aware of their similar operation on this soil prior. Even should the connection be proven, it leaves as many questions as answers. Foremost, the questions In my mind are 'Why now? (What has changed that led them to the act)', 'Why here? (Meaning the marathon in particular, but also why at all here? Their rebellion is with Russia, and we have a decreasing influence in the area)', and 'To what end? (I have not been able to derive a suitable advantage obtained from this act)'.
I may return to this line of inquiry later, but the more pressing question to me is what will be done with the situation on a domestic front. We have recently heard from at least one fringe position that it was hoped to be a rural white male bomber (thus reinforcing their stereotype), which could then be used to advance their cause in no small way. Although I am yet ignorant of the specifics, I have it on credible rumor and recent history that this act was hoped to be linked to the Tea Party (or could at least be unjuriously alleged). Now, the specifics (if they bear out) being what they are, the media will be put in a position to either report on a plot that does not seem to support their narrative or to investigate means to turn it to their advantage. Politicians will be in a similar quandary. No doubt there will those on the Right who will shortly renew their calls to closely regulate religion, and those on the Left will call for close regulation of any substance used in the construction of these devices. Subsequent to the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah bombing, agricultural applications of fertilizer were largely targeted for disruption by a concerned but ill informed public. It was widely asked where this man could obtain such huge quantities o a dangerous substance- at that very moment there was roughly 5 times the volume of both fertilizer and diesel fuel on hand at our farm, and my family operates a very small farm. I will not be surprised to hear a hue and cry for the careful control of even potential substances, nor will I be surprised by increased call for restrictions placed on people of similar background, religious beliefs, or ethnicity of the suspects.
The acts themselves highlight a growing concern that we are bound for difficult times. The facade of strength is worn, weaknesses are being exploited, and we as a nation and a culture are finding it difficult to react to the instability. While the positive feedback loop is rare in Nature, it is exceedingly common in Mankind. There are those poised to capitalize on our current weaknesses (there always are) and I do not doubt that they are encouraging more atrocities even as we speak, whether through direct means or tacit approval. We must be on our guard.