You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Thu, Apr 25, 2013 : 5:57 a.m.

In wake of tragedies, Americans show true colors

By Rich Kinsey

Last Friday night as I watched the television coverage of the capture of the second Boston Marathon Bomber, I was deeply moved. Never before have I seen the streets crowded with citizens to cheer for the police. I can tell you that for many exhausted officers leaving Watertown, Mass., that cheering crowd will be the most cherished memory of their police career.

For a career-police officer, I have never seen such an outpouring of gratitude. The scene unfolding on television was surreal. Thousands of weary local, state and federal law enforcement officers, driving all manners of police cars, vans, SUVs and armored personnel carriers barely could navigate through that Boston suburb’s streets because of the joyous crowds that had spilled off the sidewalks to cheer and shake hands with this departing army of cops. That was a scene of a victorious army parading through a liberated community.

Thumbnail image for 041513_BOSTON-MARATHON-EXPLOSION.JPG

Leading a happy life is the best thing Americans can do following such attacks on their country.

This was an American celebration. For five days we all watched with horror various images that had unfolded after the terrorist bombings at the Boston Marathon — from plums of smoke and a senior marathoner knocked off his feet by the first bomb’s pressure wave to Americans rendering aid, assistance and comfort to victims horribly maimed by homemade bombs deposited by misguided sociopaths.

Those images we saw of the bombings and the desperate race against time to catch the murderers before they could kill again was a nation’s collective battle. Thousands of law enforcement officers tried to put the puzzle together to solve the crime. They analyzed countless thousands of tips, photographs, video images and shreds of evidence supplied by victims, witnesses, bystanders, citizens and the crime scenes themselves.

Those small pieces of information supplied by citizens, who truly are the eyes and ears of law enforcement, came together last Thursday and Friday in Watertown. That celebration in the streets was for the cops, for Boston and for our nation that had just won an internationally-significant battle in the unfortunately continuing global war on terrorism.

We as Americans are at our best and closest to each other when things are at their worst. When the chips are down we come together as a nation. We Americans may get knocked down or our nose bloodied, but when we stand together as a nation we are a force to be reckoned with.

Remember Pearl Harbor in World War II? Remember how 9/11 brought us together as a nation? Remember in our own backyard, last year’s tornado in Dexter? Americans come together in times of crisis to overcome whatever adversity lies before them and help their neighbors.

I was told an interesting law enforcement story about 9/11 that demonstrated a small part of this spirit. Several officers told me that when the World Trade Center Towers fell on 9/11, several New York area organized crime figures, who were constant targets of surveillance, came out and spoke to agents assigned to their cases.


Boston Marathon 2013

AP photo

The mobsters supposedly told the agents it wasn’t the cops versus the crooks that day. The old wise-guys told the agents they were not just criminals, they were Americans and Americans had to stand together on that day. The mobsters promised there would be no problems with labor or resources at the World Trade Center. They pledged that anything that was needed to dig out and look for victims would be there and in a hurry.

I can not prove the story, but I believe those who told it to me. I also believe it because that is the incredible and sometimes unorthodox way that we as a nation of diverse people, from different cultures and from all over the globe blend together as Americans — especially when we are in crisis.

The war on terror is not won by one battle. We must still keep our eyes, ears and minds open to the possibility that some people, regardless of their reasons, want to change our way of life by terrorizing us. We as Americans must not let this happen.

The best revenge we can have on terrorists is a good life. We may have to adapt our lives and experience some inconvenience in the name of common safety and security, but let’s not change who we are.

Americans are a fun-loving people. Let’s continue to live free and have fun when the work of the day is done. Let’s travel, go to ballgames, races, theaters, tailgate parties, national monuments and parks, school plays and athletic events, festivals, fairs, picnics, parades and marathons, because that is what we have always done. That makes us what we are in this great country.

To the people in the general Boston area — and Watertown in particular — we in law enforcement must tip our hats and say thanks. The level of bravery, care and concern for other citizens those people exhibited was phenomenal. More importantly the level of trust, cooperation and understanding for the law enforcement mission in a case like this will become the gold standard.

Those citizens in Massachusetts experienced a very trying, difficult and uncomfortable week, but they came together, assisted law enforcement and the results are fantastic. In five days a major mystery was solved, and the principals in the plot will not hurt anyone outside of a prison wall again.

Last week makes me proud to be an American and reaffirms that we are truly the land of the free and the home of the brave. God bless America and all those who love her and defend her.

Lock it up, don’t leave it unattended, be aware and watch out for your neighbors.

Rich Kinsey is a retired Ann Arbor police detective sergeant who now blogs about crime and safety for



Sat, Apr 27, 2013 : 12:12 a.m.

As much as I dislike Rich's rah rah articles on the cop proletariat, I do have to side with the Boston cops. As for the Muslims, can we start deporting them now? If not, can we begin moving them to the camps in the desert?

harry b

Thu, Apr 25, 2013 : 4:40 p.m.

I wonder why he didnt mention the looting. Tell us the whole truth. There is good and bad everywhere.


Thu, Apr 25, 2013 : 11:18 p.m.

There are losers in every group--thankfully, they do not yet make up the majority. I agree with Kinsey: the number of amazingly positive things to come out of this horrific event were touching and inspiring.


Thu, Apr 25, 2013 : 2:20 p.m.

Everyday citizens are showing their true colors daily. Look into your local Community Emergency Response Team (C.E.R.T.) . Learn how to safeguard you and yours, to be prepared and/or available to help when needed. Citizen Corps' Mission The mission of Citizen Corps is to harness the power of every individual through education, training, and volunteer service to make communities safer, stronger, and better prepared to respond to the threats of terrorism, crime, public health issues, and disasters of all kinds.


Thu, Apr 25, 2013 : 1:45 p.m.

Another good article, Rich. This reinforces what I have believed ever since 9/11; I will live my life. I will continue my daily activities. I FLATLY REFUSE to give in to fear, I will not curl up in the fetal position under my bed because if I do, the you-know-whats have already won. Terrorists, take a hike. you don't scare me and you never will!!


Thu, Apr 25, 2013 : 1:24 p.m.

What I found most moving about the public's response was its spontaneity. This wasn't a flagged draped ceremony with a speaker prompting people to applaud the efforts of law enforcement. It was a very genuine expression of relief and gratitude, and what it lacked in decorum was more than made up for in sincerity and spirit. I confess that initially I had a very visceral reaction to the images of heavily armed police going door to door and entering homes without warrants. Upon reflection, I realized that this was actually a great example of cooperation between law enforcement and the citizenry. Of course there will be second-guessing of tactics and procedures, but under the circumstances it was a job well done.

David Briegel

Thu, Apr 25, 2013 : 12:20 p.m.

Now, make your next column on the fear whipped up by the round the clock coverage scaring the good citizens of America and the resulting increase in the sales of Weapons and Ammo. And the younger brother/suspect was unarmed the last day when the town was on lockdown!


Thu, Apr 25, 2013 : 11:35 p.m.

Did the round the clock coverage scare you? Or did it merely remind you that we should never be so foolish as to believe that we are completely safe? As for those who ran out to buy weapons and ammo in response to this act of terror, I doubt that having more guns and ammo would have made any of the victims any safer. WAS the younger brother/suspect unarmed that last day when the town was on lockdown? Should law enforcement have proceeded with the assumption that he was unarmed, given that they believed that he was a participant of both the bombings and the shootout with police? There is enough negativity associated with this event as well as what regularly hits the headlines--why NOT focus on the positives that came out of it? I LIKED Kinsey's article because it reminded me of the many regular people who acted heroically in the face of complete chaos, great danger and vast uncertainty. The actions of those amazing people SHOULD to be recognized and appreciated by all.

Lake Trout

Thu, Apr 25, 2013 : 12:37 p.m.

While I am all for information dissemination, there has been an increase in misinformation as media sources attempt to "scoop" each other. This is never more eveident than when a large scale incident such as Boston happens. Every media source was putting out their own spin on events, seemingly without any verification of what they were telling the public. This along with the non-stop coverage is unecessary on so many levels. The best thing I saw was a cartoon addressing this issue with the person sitting in front of a television and turning it off! So how about more people just shutting off the hype or at last not watching 24/7. Won't stop the media from doing their thing unfortuantely, but that is the world we live in.