On April 15, 2013, The Tsarnaev brothers placed two bombs at the Boston Marathon which detonated at 2:49 PM, injuring 282 people and killing three. Despite a proliferation of surveillance imagery of the brothers, they were not identified by Boston police, or if they had been identified, the Boston police did not share their images with the public. Wild speculation on social media pinned the blame on Sunil Tripathi, and the New York Post seemed to confirm this with a front-page photograph implying his guilt. Tripathi, a complete innocent, was soon found dead in the Providence River.
After three days, the FBI took over the investigation and held a press conference to release images of the actual bombers, hoping the public could identify the pair since they could not. The elder brother, Tamerlan, had of course been placed on the terror watch list after visiting Chechnya and professing a belief in the prophet Muhammad, a banality which in no way aided the investigation.
The Tsarnaevs were accosted several hours after the FBI press conference by an MIT officer, but a shootout ensued and the campus cop was shot dead. The brothers carjacked a vehicle and led police on a wild chase which ended in Tamerlan’s death. The younger brother, Dzhokhar, escaped to a nearby boat where he laid critically injured for a whole day, while battalions of stormtroopers fruitlessly raided every house within twenty blocks and authorities completely shut down Boston. Media lavished praise on this costly, ineffective, paranoid, and altogether insane reaction which had little purpose in reality yet made perfect sense to a public gleefully re-enacting the trauma of 9/11.
Those who had their houses raided, of course, were most smitten with the allergic police reaction because it made them feel safe in the midst of uncertainty. Alas, for all the methodical effort and overwhelming force, none thought to look in the small, uncovered boat where the bleeding culprit lay dying. This interagency stormtrooper circus had been planned since 9/11, and all good Americans saw the large-scale home invasion and day-long desertification of Boston as emblematic of strength and courage in the face of evil.