In Boston

They didn’t lock down Somerville. It’s one town away from where they set up the perimeter. So, although Suspect 2’s apartment was just to the south, in Inman Square, on the border of Somerville and Cambridge, here, half a mile north, people are walking their dogs. People are sitting on porches. The trash got picked up. Though about seven hours late.

Around 11pm last night, I got an alert about a potential situation at MIT. It was very similar to the alert about the gunman on campus a while back that put the school into lock down mode. That time, it turned out to be a hoax. But, pretty soon, this started looking like something different. “Shots fired”, this alert reported. Then, “officer down.” There was a robbery at the 7-11 in Kendall Square, was the next piece of information. Gunman on the loose, the advisory said, has fled. Avoid the Stata Center. Avoid Vassar St. About an hour later, Harvard sends out its alerts. They were of a different tone, reflective of the feeling of distance and relative safety at the time, perhaps. An incident at MIT, injuries reported, avoid the area, it said, no threat to Harvard. At this point, it was still an isolated incident. Posts started appearing on Facebook about “Oy this week.”

Then, a few minutes after midnight, word came that the officer died. The mood changed, then. Death, now that was something permanent. Members of the MIT community started changing their Facebook pictures to this:

Then, something like 15 police cars flew by my house, in a mad bevy, sirens and lights on. They were going south and west on Washington Ave. They were dispatching from the police station next door as well. Sirens continued.

All I thought I had to worry about this weekend was finishing my talk for the MIT group, how to weave that in before (during?) and after my camping trip. The original weekend plan was this: I would leave for the MITOC trip to New Hampshire Saturday morning at 4am, so I could see a concert Friday night at Symphony Hall. So Friday into Saturday, I wasn’t expecting much sleep. I wanted to stock up on some first, Thursday night. So I was thinking about going to bed when my friend writes me that there’s some crazy stuff going down in Watertown.

Grenades. Explosives. A carjacked vehicle.

Finally, that’s where it started coming together. What carjacker carries around IEDs?

The rest, is well-trodden territory. A 20 x 20 block area in Watertown has just now been fully combed by law enforcement and special forces, 15 hours later. One suspect is dead, apparently by gunshot wounds and a bomb vest. No sign of the escaped suspect, though. He has an automatic weapon, maybe grenades, but probably no bombs on him, except for what he’s wearing. About when the police decided to hold their perimeter and wait til daylight to begin their search, I fell asleep on my open lap top.

My mom called me at 7:30am to alert me of the developing situation. I discovered my school closing, the multi-city lock down, when I opened my email. Last night I slept two hours. Today I drank 3 cups of coffee.

Lovely day though. Looks like rain.


View downtown from the castle on Prospect Hill (Somerville, MA) – 3pm


View towards Cambridge from the castle on Prospect Hill (Somerville, MA) – 3pm


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