Thursday, May 02, 2013

A Day In Lockdown In Watertown




[Published by The Boston Globe on 4/22/2013, and re-posted here by request of Hilary.]

We stood by the window in our living room, watching the SWAT team S-L-O-W-L-Y travel down our street. Men uniformed in camouflage or in black, helmeted, jacketed, carrying large weapons. They fanned out into yards, our yard, up to doors, our door, knocked. I opened the door. A smiling team member, carrying what looked like a portable cannon – and it was the right thing to smile, because it certainly helped to put us more at ease – made sure we were secure and that the suspect they were seeking was not in our Watertown home.

The previous night, my wife had heard the gunfire and explosions. I was asleep. I awoke and went into the living room. The TV was on, news reports of what had just transpired in our city. My wife gave me a quick rundown. Then we settled in for the next 23 hours. She would not sleep, I caught about 45 minutes during it.

The suspect was here, then there, then possibly moving toward us. We watched the news reports, along with the rest of the country, but we were in the middle of what we were seeing on the tube. We switched feverishly between channels, trying to catch the latest bulletins.

We were informed, via reverse 911 call from Watertown Police, that we should not leave our house, do not answer the door, stay away from windows. We were not happy, but we did what was asked.

It seemed like they might have had him cornered on Quimby Street, but it wasn’t so. There were numerous press conferences, continuous loops of film, much conjecture, rumors, guesses. A man was on the ground on Upland Road, many rifles aimed at his head. He was taken into custody, stripped naked. It wasn’t him. We waited some more.

The SWAT team came and went. The reports continued, some hopeful, some discouraging. We were told, by the Chief of Police, that we might be under order to not leave our houses for two or three days. We were downhearted, but understood.

As the evening came again, we were told that the “stay inside ban” had been lifted. We stayed in. We figured it wasn’t really prudent for everyone to go running outside as though we had just been sprung from prison. I espoused a theory to my wife. I said that perhaps they lifted the ban in order to see if he might venture out in some way. While the ban was in effect, nobody was on the streets aside from police and guardsmen. With it lifted, maybe he’d be bold enough to try and get lost.

Not long after the ban was announced as lifted, more gunfire rang out in Watertown. Shots were being fired in the vicinity of Franklin Street. Reports came in, various sources, saying he was cornered. He was – maybe – in a boat in somebody’s backyard. Finally, that was stated as fact. And they moved in, got him, captured him, gravely wounded but alive.

And the final scene, the one that will stay with me and give joy to my heart for a long while, was that of the citizens of Watertown coming out by the hundreds, lining Mount Auburn Street. They cheered every police vehicle, National Guard truck, EMS unit, bomb squad, and other official vehicle involved in the capture. They cheered heartily, lustily, and with a sense of relief that was palpable and fully understood by both of us.

It was the Watertown Marathon. We were cheering those who finished the race.

###

17 comments:

Lowandslow said...

You were there when history was made. Cool!....in a tragic sort of way.

S

Daryl said...

even better the second time around ...

Jackie said...

Glad you republished this on your blog for those who didn't get a chance to read it on the Globe's page. Well written, my friend....
Hugs,
Jackie

Lil said...

As Daryl said...

Hilary said...

Thank you, Jim. .. like Jackie said.

Kerry said...

It DID get published. Congrats. Well done.

(not necessarily your) Uncle Skip, said...

I think you should do those stream of consciousness things once in awhile, too.
Even if you don't post them they are really pretty cleansing... like that stuff they give the night before a colonoscopy.
You really are a good writer.
It just needs more promotion.

messymimi said...

It's as good the second time.

Juli said...

Also read it on the globe's site. Sadly, I can't figure out how to comment there without buying a subscription.

Very well done. :)

lime said...

i do not envy the experience but i am so thoroughly impressed by the greater boston area for getting the job done....and so much so by the folks of watertown who created that final scene.

Cleary Squared said...

Thankfully my company closed for the day, but it was riveting TV no less.

Also...I changed my blog name and website address. It's now Observational Cleary and the address is obscleary.blogspot.com.

sage said...

Nice writing, I am glad Hilary directed us to this story and glad you safely made it through the incident.

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

Glad you wrote this, and glad Hilary sent me here to read.
I avoided all TV news coverage until they showed the parade of brave workers in uniform being cheered by the citizens of Watertown -- that made me cry tears of pride in my fellow Americans. Your story brings forth the same response.

photowannabe said...

Well written piece about a tragic act of terrorism.
Glad for you and your family that you were safe.
Proud of your law enforcement and the people of your city.
Thanks to Hilary for giving us the link and for you for republishing this post.

Anita said...

Some things we NEVER forget. This is one that will stay with you.

I'm here from Hilary's. Thank you for dramatizing the events. I felt the emotion of those days coming back; however, ending in joy as you described the parade of people cheering the police and other law enforcement.

EG CameraGirl said...

What a terrible experience but what joy when it was all over.

Dianne said...

I love how you made me feel that I was right there
and the pulse of your writing gave me chills

Bravo on POTW
and all my love to Watertown and Boston