Monday, December 16, 2013

The Crime Report's Top Ten Stories of 2013

The Crime Report released its top stories for 2013.  Stephen Handelman, executive editor of The Crime Report wrote about the Top Ten Stories, starting with the number one story of the year--the Boston Marathon bombing:

We’re still asking why.

Eight months after one of the worst domestic terrorism incidents since 9/11, its impact continues to be felt on the nation’s first-responder infrastructure and anti-terrorism efforts—as well as by the victims and their families.

On April 15, two pressure-cooker bombs exploded at the crowded finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three people and injuring 183 others. For a nation that was beginning to relax its guard with the winding down of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, it seemed an ominous portent of new terrors to come.

But the alleged culprits, as far as we know today, were not trained jihadist warriors from Al Qaeda; but two brothers—one an aspiring Olympic boxer and the other a popular college sophomore, whose parents had brought them to safety in the U.S. from the violence-torn Russian province of Chechnya and who, until recently, had been deeply integrated into American life.

Next month, Attorney General Eric Holder is expected to decide whether to seek the death penalty for 20-year-old Dzokhar Tsarnaev, the surviving alleged bomber. (His elder brother Tamerlan was killed in a shootout with police during the citywide dragnet.)

However the case is resolved, we are sure to be left with more questions than answers.

But, more than anything else, the bombings made clear that Americans remain threatened by an ideology that is determined to exploit our vulnerabilities as an open, free society. The challenge of meeting that threat will continue to preoccupy us through 2014 and beyond. What happened in Boston’s aftermath, TCR contributor Matthew Mangino wrote in explaining his choice of the bombing as 2013’s top story, illustrated how “Americans have slowly reinvented their way of life to protect themselves from the threat of violence.”

Whether we live in Boston, Houston or Des Moines, what further measure of civil liberties and freedom of movement are we prepared to give up to keep ourselves safe?

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