Bombing suspect in custody as New England picks up the pieces
POLICE OFFICERS GUARD THE ENTRANCE to Franklin Street in Watertown, Mass., Friday where there is an active crime scene search for the suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings. MATT ROURKE/AP
PLYMOUTH — As one of the largest manhunts in U.S. history wound down Friday, two women with past and current ties to Plymouth State University offered thoughts on living through the ordeal and also on what may come next.
Kristine M. Levan, assistant professor of criminal justice at PSU, and PSU alumna Kate Axtman spoke with The Citizen,yesterday, about the ramifications of Monday’s bombing of the Boston Marathon that killed three people and injured more than 180 as well as on the subsequent search for two suspects that ended Friday night in Watertown, Mass.
Levan said she was struck by the tremendous amount of law-enforcement resources put into funding the suspects, noting that it was on a par with the response to the Sept. 11. 2001 terrorist attacks. While saying it was too early to speculate why the suspects, identified as brothers, would have wanted to kill innocent people at the marathon, Levan said their actions typified the disconnectedness with society that sometimes leads otherwise normal men and women to do something horrible.
“We see the process of anomie, we build distance from society and sometimes we do things that are deviant acts,” said Levan, and immediately following such acts, “everybody goes through the process of ‘why?’”
Levan praised the preparedness of police to be ready for a terrorist act like that at the Boston Marathon, even if police weren’t specifically ready for dealing with pressure cookers used as terror-deliv- ery systems. She said the public has come to expect immediate action and resolution of major crimes, even though that may be unrealistic.
When the legal prosecution of the surviving marathon-bombing suspect gets under way, Levan fully believes he will get a fair trial based on the presumption of his innocence. She hopes and does not envision, however, that citizens will have to give up their civil rights and freedoms due to “kneejerk” legislation crafted in the direct aftermath of the current situation.
The Boston Marathon bombings have their villains and also “we see our heroes emerging,” said Levan, who counseled patience as the story of what happened and why unfolds.
Axtman, who now resides in Littleton, Mass. and works at Children’s Hospital in Boston, was in “lockdown” most of the day Friday, less than three miles from where the alleged marathon bombers lived. She said she was scared and that people were becoming panicky.
“I feel sick,” said Axtman, several hours before the second bombing suspect was apprehended. “This is awful and I can’t believe it’s happening so close to home. This city seems so empty.”
Citizen Staff Writer Bob Martin contributed to this story.