The Boston Bombing … and the Death of Privacy – Hubert Williams

The Boston Bombing … and the Death of Privacy

  By  Hubert  Williams

Bridgetown, Barbados, April 20, 2013  —  The remarkable swiftness with which the law enforcement agencies in Boston have dealt with the Marathon murderers is a reminder to us all across the world of not just the death of distance, but also that privacy too has died – that wherever you are, whatever you do, you are likely to be on camera. Britain’s royal William and Kate now know that only too well.

Today’s technology is dictating that you will never again be alone: either it is “Big Brother” peering in on you at different angles from outer space; or the strategically located mini drones which are becoming a feature of surveillance; or grandma fiddling with the fascinating little gift that she got for Christmas;  or the little tot across the street testing on you the capabilities of a smartphone. All are likely, even if only by chance, to be focusing on you. Distance is dead. Privacy is a fossil. Even when secreted behind closed doors, with powerful sensors they can tell what you’re up to from the vibrations emanating.       

The technology gap is where the Marathon brothers made their fatal slip. They must certainly have gone onto the Internet to obtain their bomb-making instructions (for anything you want to know – the best and the worst – lies there for the taking). But in their derangement, they looked no further than the capacity to wreak death and destruction, pain, suffering, horror and fear on innocent Marathon watchers and extending it to the wider community. Had they searched the Internet more carefully, they might have been dissuaded from their foul deed, for it would have provided them a lot of information to show that with today’s capabilities, the authorities can locate even the proverbial needle in a hay-stack. And so in time the killers were condignly dealt with.

The authorities in Washington and Boston are to be complimented for the clinical efficiency with which they handled the Marathon Drama, and as I have suggested above, through available technology, a mission seemingly impossible, i.e., unmasking/detaining the unknown bombers, was accomplished in just four days. This strengthens Americans’ faith in their law enforcement agencies, and warns would-be terrorists that “eyes” are all around and there will be no escape.

The one downside, as I indicated Tuesday morning, was the President’s avoidance of calling the tragedy an act of terror in his first statement on Monday, when immediately to me it clearly was. In the second statement Tuesday afternoon, he came out boldly and declared that “Any time bombs are used to target civilians, it is an act of terrorism,”  and later in the statement he promised with confidence “I can assure we will find out who did it and bring them to justice.” And that has been done. A man of his word.

Imagine !  A huge metropolitan area locked down. All rail and road transit services stopped. The vast hub of Boston gone silent. Because the search for the bombers was a mission on which the authorities dared not fail. My home too is in the locked-down area and was under the injunction to “stay indoors”.

Now, with both bombers accounted for, the critical question is whether they acted independently (as brothers in crime) or have links to an international terrorist organization. Fortunately, terrorists are mostly always cowards or zealots, and in this case, one who sought to viciously snuff out other people’s lives was found cowering in a backyard boat seeking to safeguard his own. He will be the source of much vital information about what prompted the act and what foreign links they might have had over the years;  and (in my view) whatever international human rights groups might think, the authorities should get that information… by any means necessary.

As the Marathon drama unfolded in Boston and surrounding cities like Watertown and Newton, areas that I traverse almost daily, I have had to field numerous inquiries from friends and acquaintances everywhere as to how has the family been touched by all the goings-on. Emotionally, yes; otherwise, no. Usually, almost all members would have been among the Marathon watchers. But this year is different. I happen to be ‘vacationing’ in Barbados; three others are vacationing in Cancun, Mexico; one is vacationing in Havana, Cuba. The sole member among the Marathon spectators (who has kept his teenage figure by running) was back home when the bombs blew, having seen the front-runners in, and deciding there was little point waiting to the end for all the stragglers.

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Comments

  • bill newman  On April 20, 2013 at 6:05 pm

    I find it very interesting that the mass shooting at Newtown, when 26 people were shot, is not referred to as an act of terrorism, but this incident is immediately deemed to be an act of terrorism. Why is Newtown any different from this?

    • Thinker  On April 20, 2013 at 9:35 pm

      Terrorism usually has a political purpose.

  • terrytrekker  On April 20, 2013 at 7:38 pm

    The police did not find the terrorist. The boat owner did. The police were rather inept at not catching a seriously wounded criminal who was on foot. I was not impressed by the masses of swat teams running up and down and posing for the TV cameras.

  • CANJEBOY  On April 20, 2013 at 11:10 pm

    It is clear that Mr Hubert Williams does not know what he writing about.
    I would like to ask him how he knew. “Those two men were the BOMBERS?”
    Also how did he know that the following statements are correct?
    “The technology gap is where the Marathon brothers made their fatal slip. They must certainly have gone onto the Internet to obtain their bomb-making instructions (for anything you want to know – the best and the worst – lies there for the taking). But in their derangement, they looked no further than the capacity to wreak death and destruction, pain, suffering, horror and fear on innocent Marathon watchers and extending it to the wider community. Had they searched the Internet more carefully, they might have been dissuaded from their foul deed, for it would have provided them a lot of information to show that with today’s capabilities, the authorities can locate even the proverbial needle in a hay-stack. And so in time the killers were condignly dealt with.”
    I will like to ask those in charge of what is publish on GUYANA ON LINE to scrutinize the accuracy of information that is on this reputable site. Please do not allow garbage on GUYANA ON LINE.

    • Thinker  On April 21, 2013 at 3:11 am

      This is the beginning of a conspiracy theory. The brothers actually told the guy they kidnapped that they were the bombers. Apart from that, the video evidence is overwhelming. The two were no innocent bystanders. Unfortunately in a free society, garbage is allowed but it must be refuted immediately so that others will not spread it. I trust that your statement will not be considered credible by anyone.

  • Ernest  On April 21, 2013 at 2:30 am

    Yes , everything is on camera, but cameras are only reviewed when something is wrong in the area, so if you don’t do anything wrong , you don’t have to be afraid

  • Ron Persaudkykoveral  On April 21, 2013 at 9:49 pm

    You know, it’s tough to be American!
    Just reading through the preceding comments demonstrates just how tough it can be.
    Terrorism: “Why is Newtown any different from this?” “Terrorism usually has a political purpose”.
    “The police did not find the terrorist. The boat owner did.” “I was not impressed by the masses of swat teams running up and down and posing for the TV cameras”.
    I was impressed by the masses of teams that were working against time to gather the films, cameras, cell phones etc. and viewing each and every single one of the frames to find what I will describe as a straw-colored needle in a haystack.
    “It is clear that Mr. Hubert Williams does not know what he writing about.”
    That opinion lacks the very same back-up that it accuses Mr. Williams of.
    And it goes on to suggest censorship!
    Get used to the USA, the US Constitution and its amendments.
    And let us try very hard to comprehend that we must accord to all others the “rights and privileges” which we take for ourselves.
    You see how tough it is to be American?

  • Thinker  On April 23, 2013 at 3:30 am

    It’s tougher to be a thoughtful Guyanese.

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