How much more bizarre is this Boston Marathon Thing going to get?
For whatever reason, I wasn't able to sleep much past 3:00am MDT this morning, so I got up and was puttering around doing my morning routine, fixing coffee, having a donut, the usual. I opened up the laptop and was tooling idly around the InterTubes and something caught my eye in a column about the Torture Report that's been pretty much buried by Other Events. It was a link to a column in The Atlantic that was interesting but had nothing to do with the Torture Report, it had to do with misidentifying or misinterpreting what one was seeing in film of the Kennedy Assassination in Dallas and how that related to the manhunt under way for the suspects in the Boston bombing.
Over in the corner of the page was a "Just In" piece by Connor Friedersdorf: "What Happened Overnight In Watertown: 1 Suspect Dead, Another On the Run." There was no indication from the headline that it had anything to do with the Boston Marathon Thing at all, but Watertown is close enough to Boston, thought I, that it might be worthwhile opening the link.
Sure enough. What a story. An extended shootout with police took place in Watertown after a robbery and carjacking overnight, according to a witness, at least one bomb was thrown at police and exploded in the street, a police vehicle was shot up and crashed, at least two police officers were shot, one suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing was shot and later died at the hospital, and the other one who was with him got away. The manhunt continues.
Uh. This read like a television script, and at first, still a bit groggy from recently getting up, I discounted the story, because it did not seem real. So often, media acts as a propaganda arm of the authorities, and so anything that is reported -- especially a story as dramatic as this one -- has to be taken with at least a little bit of skepticism. The press lies, constantly. Prior to reading this story, for example, I was watching the Chris Hayes takedown of CNN and FOX over their erroneous reporting about an arrest of a "dark skinned" suspect who was said to be in custody in Boston and would be taken for arraignment momentarily. All of it was bogus, but there you are. They will say in their defense it was an "honest mistake" -- they had received "information" and had run with it. So does everybody else. Except that too often these bogus stories are actually being planted by interested agencies and individuals who seek to gain from them. What they gain is control of the narrative. My own sense was that this bogus arrest story was an intentional distraction and that potentially, Hayes was being very naive about it. But that's beside the point.
What I'm getting at is that -- at least at first read -- the Shootout In Watertown story seemed just as bogus, if not more so, especially given the early hour of the the morning these events were being reported, and such witness commentary as the following produced by the New York Times:
A Watertown resident, Andrew Kitzenberg, 29, said he looked out his third-floor window to see two young men of slight build in jackets engaged in "constant gunfire" with police officers. A police SUV "drove towards the shooters," he said, and was shot at until it was severely damaged. It rolled out of control, Mr. Kitzenberg said, and crashed into two cars in his driveway.
The two shooters, he said, had a large, unwieldy bomb. "They lit it, still in the middle of the gunfire, and threw it. But it went 20 yards at most." It exploded, he said, and one of the two men ran toward the gathered police officers. He was tackled, but it was not clear if he was shot, Mr. Kitzenberg said.
Alrighty then, if it's in the Times then it must be true, right?The explosions, said another resident, Loretta Kehayias, 65, "lit up the whole house. I screamed. I've never seen anything like this, never, never, never."
I don't know.
So anyway, these are the preliminary reports and they are so far all the reports I have read about the Shootout in Watertown, and at this point, I'm pretty skeptical.
Time to cruise the other news reports...
Having done my best to sit through various teevee reports and having read a few other news items on the Shootout In Watertown (it's a dirty little war), I say my skepticism was warranted -- get a load of Cocktailhag's summary of the stoopid this week at FDL -- and yet the incidents of war in the streets of Watertown appear to have been all too real. The witness quoted above by the NYT has been doing all the shows with his Skype connection, and he appears to be credible as heck (in fact, though, his detailed reporting of what he witnessed, so carefully couched in almost baroque terminology, sets off my Spidey sense, but that's probably just me...)
All of Boston is on "lockdown?" I don't even know what that means. But apparently, the Other Suspect is still on the loose (after running over his brother while trying to escape?) so the whole city has to come to a standstill while the pursuit takes place. Protocol.
Chechens? WTF? In what way do Chechens see mayhem at the Marathon as a useful tool in their struggle? Or was it something else again?