Last week the Boston Marathon bombing caused terror all over Boston and surrounding areas leading up to the shooting death of one suspect and the arrest of his younger brother. President Barack Obama described the Boston Marathon bombing as an act of terror and stated his Administration may invoke the public safety exception to Miranda, allowing FBI officials to question the suspect without reading him his Miranda rights to remain silent and seek advice of any attorney. Presently, the suspect is not in any condition to communicate due to his medical condition. The Federal Public Defenders say they will represent him.
The issue of terror raises many concerns. Terror comes in many shapes, forms and sizes. For those living in the Washington, DC area in October of 2002, for three weeks, the DC Sniper, John Allen Muhammad and 16 year old Lee Boyd Malvo held the entire DC, Virginia and Maryland area in terror as they randomly killed 10 persons in three jurisdictions and injured three others while on their three week killing spree at gas stations and shopping malls. Persons were afraid to pump gas in their cars as the two shot and killed persons pumping gas, going to school, at shopping centers, waiting for bus transportation and performing other routine tasks. Montgomery County Public Schools, District of Columbia Public Schools, and private schools went into a lockdown, with no recess or outdoor gym classes. Other school districts in the area also took precautionary measures. The suspects were arrested just days before the 2002 Marine Corp Marathon.
And for those children and teachers in Newtown, Connecticut, students on the campus of Virginia Tech, movie goers in the theater in Aurora, Colorado and shoppers in Tucson, Arizona at the shopping center to hear then Rep. Gabby Giffords, terror and fear rang out in all those places too. And in many urban cities and communities throughout the country, gun violence causes many persons to live with a perpetual sense of fear every time they leave their homes and sometimes while inside their homes. Many fear their children will be shot while en route to school, coming home from school, playing in a neighborhood playground, sitting on the steps of their porch or inside their home where a stray bullet could come through a window. For many of those living in communities where gun violence is more the norm, they already live in a shelter at home situation every day out of fear. The feeling of terror that was felt in Boston can be the same feeling experienced by those of mass gun violence incidents and random gun violence experienced in this country on a daily basis. The main difference is how we react to the terror.
In regards to the Boston Marathon bombing, I listened to the Sunday morning talk shows following the arrest where several legislators talked about delaying the Immigration bill, in light of the bombing. The reason indicated by one was to allow for more time to review the bill to see if other restrictions might be imposed. Yet, many of these lawmakers who will want to review the evidence surrounding the Boston bombings to see if tighter security laws can be enacted are probably many of the same ones who voted to defeat the gun bill’s background checks. Those same lawmakers who support failing to provide Miranda and other rights to the Boston bomb suspect are probably some of the same ones voting against gun control who want to ensure the 2nd amendment and right to bear arms is not infringed. Yet, they are willing to infringe on other rights afforded under the Constitution.
Until we treat gun violence in this country with the same intensity as we do bombings, persons will continue to be killed at an alarming rate in this country due to gun violence. Gun violence is the terror that exists in many urban cities across the country on a daily basis. And although mass gun violence has stretched to places like Newtown, Connecticut, Tucson, Arizona, Virginia Tech University and Aurora, Colorado and includes many urban communities, our lawmakers still fail to see guns create terror and fear too. And just like with bombing incidents, we will not be able to avoid all gun incidents with legislation. Yet, gun violence deserves the attention to the terror that it also invokes among us. And passing universal background gun checks, banning some assault weapons and limiting magazine cartridges would have been a good start.