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Sat Apr 27, 2013, 11:10 AM

What If the Tsarnaevs Had Been the “Boston Shooters”?

Here’s a little mental experiment. Imagine, for a moment, that the Tsarnaev brothers, instead of packing a couple of pressure cookers loaded with nails and explosives into their backpacks a week ago Monday, had stuffed inside their coats two assault rifles—Bushmaster AR-15s, say, of the type that Adam Lanza used in Newtown. What would have been different?

Well, for one thing, the brothers would probably have killed a lot more than three people at the marathon. AR-15s can fire up to forty-five rounds a minute, and at close range they can tear apart a human body. If the Tsarnaevs had started firing near the finish line, they might easily have killed dozens of spectators and runners before fleeing or being shot by the police.

The second thing that would have been different is the initial public reaction. Most Americans associate bomb attacks with terrorists. When they hear of mass shootings, they tend to think of sociopaths and unbalanced post-adolescents. If the Tsarnaevs had managed to carry out a gun massacre unharmed and escaped, their identities unknown, would the first presumption have been that the shooters were Islamic extremists? Or would people have looked in another direction?

Third, had the attack been carried out with assault rifles rather than explosives and nails, the gun-control bills that perished on Capitol Hill just two days after the Boston bombings may have met a different fate. After yet another gun massacre, this one on the streets of Boston, it’s hard to imagine the White House wouldn’t have been able to summon up sixty votes in the Senate for expanded background checks. The proposed ban on assault weapons would surely have gotten the support of more than forty senators, too, and the proposal to ban multi-round magazines would also have gained more support—that’s if the gun lobby hadn’t managed to postpone the votes until emotions had cooled, which it would certainly have tried to do.


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Reply What If the Tsarnaevs Had Been the “Boston Shooters”? (Original post)
flamingdem Apr 2013 OP
BethanyQuartz Apr 2013 #1
flamingdem Apr 2013 #2
BethanyQuartz Apr 2013 #3
Crepuscular Apr 2013 #4

Response to flamingdem (Original post)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 11:49 AM

1. Several issues with the scenario


They wouldn't have escaped if they had shot up the place and they would perhaps have been far more reluctant to carry out the attack knowing that it would be their first and last.

It would have been difficult to get an assault rifle past the security that exists at these big races in the first place. You can make an argument that at a smaller race with less security it could be done and would have probably resulted in more deaths, I concede that one.

If no one noticed them making bombs even though they were on terrorist watch lists it's likely that stricter gun laws wouldn't have stopped them from getting guns, either.

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Response to BethanyQuartz (Reply #1)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 01:48 PM

2. Some good points but what it makes me realize

is that it wouldn't be difficult to massacre a large number of people with high capacity magazines.

Let's say they simply found a way to position themselves in or on a building and had good aim..
They could do before the police cordoned off the place.

Plus, with the jihad issue they aren't so concerned with survival.

I think the only reason we haven't seen it is that it's not the style of jihad. They prefer horror and spectacle, not just a massacre that's commonplace in American .. sorry that this doesn't warrant the sarcasm icon!

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Response to flamingdem (Reply #2)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 01:55 PM

3. It has happened in the past


Decades ago wasn't it? A tower sniper on a campus if I remember right. There are many ways to cause horror and spectacle with this kind of carnage. High powered rifles are definitely one way. I won't say they aren't. But as I said in another post, a real and effective assault rifle ban isn't anywhere near my #1 issue to think and write about. Partly because the way the guns would have to be rounded up after being criminalized would in my opinion cause more harm than any good that would come of them not being in private hands anymore. We'd have people (including possibly people I know personally because I do live in a rightwing gun happy state) killing and dying to keep their guns if the government really did take a strong arm stance and start an actual round up. And those with unlicensed guns would find plenty of ways to keep them hidden in the meantime. I just don't think it's the most important issue right now or a good idea to carry out right now if ever.

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Response to flamingdem (Original post)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 02:51 PM

4. What if the event in Newtown

had been the result of a deranged bomber instead of a deranged gunman? Had that occurred there probably would not have even been any new gun control legislation to go down in flames on Capitol Hill.

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