Preserving Freedom By Locking A City Down

Max Blumenthal, via Twitter: On Wednesday, Obama said they would not intimidate us — “not here in Boston.” And today the whole city is shut down because of one guy.

They shut down the subways. They shut down the trains.
They shut down the buses. A spokesman explains,
“We’re cutting his options till not one remains”
And the city has ground to a stop.

They’re asking you kindly, to please stay inside,
It’s all for your safety—too many have died—
The people of Boston should take it in stride
(Only open your doors for a cop)

With SWAT teams, and K-9s, and bulletproof gear
You know it’s not long till they sound the all-clear
There is no place to hide—you have nothing to fear
They can’t hide; not a man, not a mouse!

They can’t take our freedom! This city is strong!
The people of Boston will show them they’re wrong!
We’re patriots here, and we’ve been all along!
…now it’s time to get back in the house.

The classroom exercise, of course, is to trace the referents for “they”.

And yes, I did say I would stop doing this. One cannot control one’s compulsions, or they would not be termed “obsessions”.


  1. Wayne says

    The photos of an apparently post-apocalyptic Boston, with no one living in a broad camera field, were shocking to me. Thoughts of a police state requesting obedience from a compliant populace seemed obvious, yet after a bit, superficial.

    Then I thought – this is what ostracism is like. Millions of people go indoors, shunning and leaving the antigen outside, to face the unleashed immune system. One individual, against closed doors everywhere. Sort of like ST TOS, Landru, “you are not of the body,” only better.

  2. chigau (違う) says

    If I understand what is meant by “Boston”, there were 4.5 million people huddled in their houses.
    Is that correct?
    4.5 million?

  3. Cuttlefish says

    Actually, I thought (I could be wrong–I was listening to NPR at times, watching CNN at other times) that there were 5-6 (or more) towns that were all under lockdown at one point or other (including the town of Boston). Other towns were not under official lockdown, but may have been under local recommendation of lockdown.

    I would happily admit I am wrong; the lockdowns did not apply to me, nor do I know the Boston neighborhoods well enough to really understand the reports. So there are multiple reasons I could be wrong.

    But from what I think is true, there were several million “huddled in their houses” over this.

  4. Cuttlefish says


    This is the difference between “poetry” and “commentary in verse”: My post is now, as of a couple of minutes ago, obsolete. Poetry, on the other hand, is timeless.

    Boston can come out now. Good on ya, not letting the bad guys infringe on your freedoms.

  5. Anonymous Atheist says

    According to the news reports I heard at the time: At the start, the lockdown area encompassed about 400,000 residents in several Boston suburbs. Several hours later, it was expanded to encompass about 1,000,000 residents, adding Boston proper. Boston proper’s population is 626,000.

    Found a news article quote: “The lockdown initially affected more than 300,000 people in Cambridge [105k], Watertown [32k], Newton [85k], Brighton [43k Boston neighborhood], Allston [29k Boston neighborhood], and Belmont [25k], but by 8 a.m., the entire city of Boston was paralyzed.”

    Those suburbs/neighborhoods added up to 319,000, and adding Boston minus those two neighborhoods would’ve been 873,000. (There may have been other areas besides Boston added that aren’t mentioned in that quote.)

  6. Cuttlefish says

    Thanks, Anonymous Atheist–

    Far fewer than my ignorant guess, but still a ton of people in several towns.

  7. hoary puccoon says

    But they got the guy– in Watertown, a few blocks from my elder daughter’s house. Am I glad my child was at home with the doors locked instead of being held hostage or caught in the middle of a firefight? You’d better believe I am!

  8. Joan says

    Got to thinking what might be going through the minds of some people as this played out, (one gentleman was ‘escorted’ to the police station when he objected a little too much to going back inside his house.) The last message from. no.11 inspired this verse.

    They are over-reacting.
    They shut down the town.
    All are huddling inside
    Till the culprits are found.

    Such a vast inconvenience.
    They cancelled the game!
    Did the suspects have tickets?
    That’s really so lame.

    They have quarantined
    Boston. Some suburbs. What folly!
    Over one million people inside
    Oh good golly!

    They’re bringing in federals
    Swat teams and such.
    With APC’s roaming the streets
    It’s too much!

    Wait a minute. It’s Watertown
    They’ve been assigned?
    My kids live right near there.
    So… um…. never mind.

  9. haitied says

    I suppose it is a little ironic that if there was no lock-down the man whose boat the suspect occupied would have discovered his “guest” while leaving for work @ 7am. . . .

  10. timberwoof says

    “Lockdown” is a condition in prisons: every inmate is confined to his or her cell for the rest of the day. Recently it has become commonly applied to hospitals and schools. And now, cities. TV news readers say things like “Arkham School is on lockdown” or “Gotham City is on lockdown” as though everyone in those institutions knows what what means and what they’re expected to do.

    In a prison, they probably teach you right away what that means, what to do, and what not to do. But do we do emergency lockdown drills? No. Are our constitutional rights suspended during lockdown? What if, say, I had a room I never show my parents or newphews … and the police searched my whole house while I was outside at gunpoint? Would they now take special note of that, and come back later with a different purpose?

    Firemen and paramedics I trust: They swear oaths not to blab about stuff they find in people’s houses. Are police under such restrictions when they search for a terrorist? If we have to give up constitutional protections in order to make someone’s job easier, do we still have those protections?

    (I can hear Commander Worf saying, “If they had nothing to hide, they would not be afraid!”)

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