The swift conclusion to the manhunt for the terrorists who bombed the Boston Marathon a week ago is a testament to the refusal of Americans to submit to terrorism and to the skills of well-trained law enforcement officers and military personnel who prevented even greater mass casualties by suspects said to be bent on mayhem.
The deadly rampage by two brothers that ended a traumatic week in Boston began Thursday night just hours after authorities released videotapes of the suspects carrying backpacks containing the pressure-cooker bombs detonated near the finish line of the Boston Marathon four days earlier, killing three persons and injuring more than 180 others. Incredibly, authorities were able to reconstruct the bombs and even identify the backpacks containing them.
Then after combing through still photos, smartphone videos and surveillance tapes supplied by an angry public, police picked out the two suspects as they walked among the hundreds of thousands of people lining the 26-mile route. One suspect was even seen dropping his backpack and then nonchalantly walking away.
Tips started pouring in after the release Thursday of a department-store surveillance video and photographs of Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, alerting them and triggering their deadly rampage. The two suspects allegedly ambushed a Massachusetts Institute of Technology transit officer, wounded a Boston transit officer and hijacked another vehicle with its owner inside. The man was released unharmed but police used cellphone technology to track the vehicle that was located in Watertown, Mass. The 19-year-old Dzhokhar escaped an ensuing gun battle in which his 26-year-old brother was killed.
Hundreds of military personnel and police from several communities and branches of law enforcement converged on Watertown in a massive manhunt that shut down Boston and several of its suburbs. Residents abided by an unprecedented request to remain in their homes. The region took on the appearance of a war zone. Americans riveted to their television sets throughout Friday watched heavily armed police and troops wearing flak jackets and military gear conduct a house-to-house search and patrol empty streets in armored vehicles.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was found by a Watertown resident hiding inside a boat. Infrared-sensing technology deployed from a police helicopter gave police a look at the suspect lying on the floor of the craft. He surrendered without further harm to himself or others. Relieved Watertown residents cheered and applauded the police as Tsarnaev was taken to a hospital.
Now its time to ascertain why two Chechen-born men one a naturalized citizen and the other with a citizenship application pending turned against their chosen country, whether they acted alone and whether they had ties to foreign terrorist organizations particularly with the elder Tsarnaevs visit to Russia and his native Chechnya last year. Throughout the ordeal, Americans to their credit avoided any rash judgments or unfounded finger-pointing at Muslims or ethnic Chechens.
Some politicians are demanding to know why the FBI failed to track Tamerlan after the agency had been asked by Russian authorities to interview him as a possible Islamic terrorist.
The answers will come in time. Meanwhile, Boston and its surburbs can get on with the healing and return to normalcy with the rest of America.