Murdered MIT police officer Sean Collier has been laid to rest
, with Joe Biden speaking at the ceremony. This NYT story
offers represents the first attempt to present an account of just what happened to him that night.
Officer Sean A. Collier was 27, not much older than the Massachusetts Institute of Technology students he watched over as a campus police officer, and he sometimes joined them in a game of darts or Xbox. So when an ambulance staffed by students rolled past his parked patrol car last Thursday night, he flashed his blue lights to say hello. The students answered with their red lights.
It was just a little after that routine interaction, the police said, that a pair of men approached Officer Collier’s squad car from behind and shot him to death, in what some law enforcement officials said appeared to have been a failed attempt to steal his gun. In the anguished scene that followed, the student emergency medical technicians were called back to the patrol car they had just passed, where they tried in vain to save Officer Collier’s life.
Yeah, but: Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has not been charged with that crime -- in fact, the complaint against him does not mention the Collier killing. Previously, many news reports informed us that the Tsarnaevs had spoken of the killing to the man whose car they stole, but the complaint mentions no such confession.
The suggestion that gun theft motivated the murder makes no sense: The brothers already had plenty of weaponry, according to a number of reports. Or are we now supposed to rewrite those
news accounts as well? (Update:
Apparently, we are. See the final section of this post.)
We've recently learned that the brothers also already had a car -- a nice, nondescript Honda Civic. If they needed a getaway vehicle, a Honda would have sufficed. So what motivated the theft of a Mercedes SUV? And why have we not heard from the driver, who goes strangely unnamed in the aforementioned complaint? (Update:
Okay, turns out we have
heard from the driver
We know that the brothers either owned or had access to another Mercedes, which was in the shop on the night all of this activity occurred. Dzhokhar told the mechanic that the car belonged to a friend. When the mechanic did not have repairs finished on time, Dzhokhar became enraged and upset. Why? Odd thought: Did whatever they had planned somehow require the use of a Mercedes?
Several new accounts tell us that Dzhokhar had no firearm while holed up in that boat. He posed no threat. The cops simply showed up and opened fire. Why? And why did so many earlier news accounts paint a different picture?
So far, the only explanation for that initial barrage of gunfire is "the fog of war."
That's not good enough.
I'm not normally a cop-basher. I have great respect for people who do a tough and dangerous job. But in this case, it seems clear that the police have issued misleading statements to the press in order to cover up unprofessional work.
I've been bugged by the decision to charge Dzhokhar with possession of weapons of mass destruction, a term once reserved for nukes and CBW. If we redefine the term so loosely, aren't we giving ourselves permission to invade any country on earth?
Maybe we should take out the government of Lichtenstein. They possess weapons of mass destruction
Reader D made the same point in a letter I'd like to share with readers...
However, what I find far more troubling than all the drama over Miranda is the way the Feds are labeling these two comparatively small homemade antipersonnel bombs as “Weapons of Mass Destruction”. Incredibly, they have indicted Tsarnaev on charges of employing weapons of mass destruction.
Has anybody raised a peep of protest about this gross misrepresentation of what were essentially nothing better than a couple of jumbo garden-variety pipe-bombs? Basically they were roughly the equivalent of large grenades, or if you prefer a couple of normal size anti-personnel mines, like a Claymore. Who in their right mind would describe a big pipe-bomb or a Claymore as a weapon of mass-destruction?
This also disgracefully trivializes what a genuine weapon of mass destruction truly is. That was definitely no pipe-bomb on board the Enola Gay.
Doesn’t it strike you Joe as a sinister Orwellian distortion of what the meaning of “weapon of MASS destruction” is actually intended to convey? I always thought the “mass” part of the term was the defining distinction, meant to connote a great many individuals as in mass-transit, mass-communication, mass-extinction or mass-hysteria.
If simply amassing a measure of destruction of life and limb is the operative concern, then Seung-Hui Cho at Virginia Tech using a most pedestrian 9mm pistol, racked up more than ten times the number of kills than the Tsarnaevs. Does that mean an ordinary handgun deserves to be labeled a weapon of mass destruction? If so, then surely that designation ought to apply as well to the common kitchen knife. In 2001, in a cafeteria in Osaka, Mamoru Takuma conclusively demonstrated how an unremarkable kitchen knife could, in a matter of moments, separate the souls from the bodies of seven people and severely wound thirteen others. Then, we have the occasional deranged individual who intentionally plows his automobile into a packed crowd, killing and wounding a whole slew of innocent folks. Is a Buick to be classified as a weapon of mass destruction too? Something is horribly cockeyed here.
The hysteria level is not only getting out of hand, it seems that wild and unreasonable fears are being purposely exploited to get the public to accept a continued shift away from traditional liberal American law-enforcement policies, and towards embracing outright police-state methods, along with the continuing militarization of law-enforcement in general.
Alex Seitz-Wald of Salon has an excellent run-down
of the changes in the official story. Some readers of that piece have argued -- not unreasonably -- that there will always be a few muddled facts during the early stages of reporting on an unfolding story. I agree, but only to a point. This story zoomed past that point two or three days ago.
To mention just one example: At first the cops told us that the brothers had a massive arsenal, including a BB gun(!) -- but now we learn that the Tsarnaevs had but one
9mm pistol between them. Cah-MON. You can't change the narrative so drastically while offering the public no better explanation than "Oops"!
So who deserves the blame for these mutating facts? A lot of people would point to the journalists covering this story, but I think that reporters have simply repeated what they've been told by police and government sources. One thing is for sure: We've reached a point where no-one can say that this story is in its early stages -- yet you don't have to be a conspiracy buff to see that we still have eight or nine genuine mysteries here.
Half of those mysteries become clearer if we posit that the cops told fibs to hide their screw-ups.