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Sunday, April 21, 2013

A Few Thoughts About Watertown, Massachusetts

I lived in Watertown, Massachusetts  for 3 years in the late 1960s. I found my old street on Google, although I didn't manage to locate the two family house we lived in. Watertown has a population of about 30 thousand people. It probably was about that size when I lived there because I doubt if there has been any new building in that area in the last 40 or 50 years. It is still an area of mostly one and two family houses, mostly built before World War I. The house I lived in was different because it was a newer house fitted into the block because our neighbors had sold off the second lot that the owner's father had bought when he built the house in 1910. That house had always been set on one of the lots so the second could be sold off when the time came.

It was then mostly a lower middle class neighborhood. I bet it still is. So the response of the people who lived there when everything was over wasn't a huge surprise to me. The people I knew when I lived there, most of whom had lived on the block for 40 or 50 years or more, would have come out onto the street to applaud the police cars as they left the area too.

I spent a lot of time watching TV the last couple of days and I figured a few things out that weren't all that apparent. It was the Watertown police, without Federal, State or Big City backup, who stopped the car with the two suspects. They were the ones who had the gunfight with the 200 rounds, and the home made bombs and grenades thrown at them. It was also the Watertown police, again without backup, who got the first cordon set up around the second suspect and held in place until the special Federal teams arrived to deal with the extremely difficult situation they were in. They were the ones who got the local families out of the houses during the period where it looked like nothing much was happening.

You had to read between the lines to figure all of this out. There are some people who objected to the death of the first suspect, but in addition to gunshots and bombs, he was run over by the car driven by his brother. At this point I'd wonder exactly what killed him. He died in the hospital, and not on the street, so they got him to a hospital. There were only 6 policemen in that original group. This was after the MIT policeman, who had been alone, had been killed.

The truly amazing thing about all of this is something a hospital administrator said on day 2 or day 3. He said, "Everyone is still alive!" They didn't loose anyone who made it to one of the hospitals alive. All three of the original deaths involved people who died in the triage tent, or before they made it to the tent.

Take care all

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