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Reality TV Redux

Much of our country was riveted last Friday as reality TV took on a whole new meaning, beyond anything Law & Order, CSI or NCIS could ever dream up. Viewers followed the unfolding events in Watertown, Mass., starting late Thursday night with the brutal killing of police officer Sean A. Collier, 27, of the MIT police force and ending at 8:45 PM Friday with the capture of suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. The object of the all-out manhunt was found cowering in the boat of Watertown homeowner Dave Henneberry, who courageously did exactly what he should when he saw something, which was to say something.

The events of Thursday night into Friday included all the elements of a real life, real time Die Hard movie, albeit without Bruce Willis – cold-blooded murder, carjacking, kidnapping, a police chase, grenades thrown from moving cars, a police shoot out on a public street, a brazen escape through a police blockade, and a manhunt conducted with a national TV audience along for the ride. The Hollywood version (no doubt already in the works and probably two hours instead of 20) could never compare to what is probably the best real-time televised police drama since OJ & the Bronco.

The terrorist acts of Tsarnaev and his brother Tamerlan, who died during the police shoot out (quite possibly as the result of being run over by his cowardly brother during his escape) left four innocent people dead and over 200 wounded. There were countless heroes who played a part in the tragic events beginning at approximately 2:50 PM on Monday during the Boston Marathon and ending in Mr. Henneberry's Watertown backyard Friday evening.

There were the first responders and race personnel who hoped and expected that the worst they would have to deal with would be minor Marathon-related injuries. Most never expected to be tending people with exploded limbs and other catastrophic, life threatening injuries. Without the immediate care that many of the victims received at the scene, the death toll undoubtedly would have been higher. The same can be said for the trauma units at many Boston area hospitals. April 15, 2013 was a day they trained for all their professional lives and hoped would never happen.

Multiple law enforcement agencies worked around the clock to identify the suspects and ultimately capture them. From the Boston PD to the FBI, JTTF, CIA, Watertown police and countless others, it's reassuring to know that the U.S. has world class law enforcement and investigatory capabilities. Although we will never be able to stop every lunatic with an axe to grind, we can rest assured that the full force of our justice system will be at work.

And then there's the driver of the highjacked SUV (still unnamed) who ran for the nearest telephone as soon as he was able to escape his captors; Tarek Ahmed, the Cambridge gas station attendant who made the 911 call to police; and Mr. Henneberry. All were ordinary people, minding their own business as the Tsarnaev brothers crossed their paths. Without these individuals, it's likely there would have been even more victims of the siege.

Now the debate moves on to the Miranda rights (or not) of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the surviving suspect. It seems very simple to me. There is overwhelming evidence indicating he used a weapon of mass destruction to murder and injure innocent civilians. He took part in the capital offense of murdering a police officer in cold blood. He carjacked and kidnapped, and he attempted to murder countless law enforcement officials in an attempt to avoid capture. He is surely a terrorist and an enemy of our state. He's entitled to no more rights than he showed the innocent people he murdered and injured. Where's Dick Cheney when you need him?

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The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of Jeffrey M. Weiner and do not represent those of Marcum LLP, its partners or its employees.

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