Was Shutting Down Boston Really a Good Idea?

04.19.13 6:37 PM ET

The Guardian's Michael Cohen tweeted this, but I was sort of wondering it, too. Was shutting down an entire city really a great idea? Now any would-be terrorist will take it as a challenge to get a city shut down. It's just added incentive.

I can understand authorities wanting less hubbub than usual; can understand that that would make it easier perhaps to track the guy. I can see telling people within a certain radius in Watertown to stay put. But it seems like overreaction to me. The cops are professionals. They train constantly for moments like this. They need to stop all other motion to conduct a manhunt?

If the argument is that it's for people's safety, well...okay, but how many people could this guy really kill? On the day that he set out to kill dozens, he fell well short of that. And what are the odds that any particular individual would cross paths with this guy? When did telling people to use caution and venture only where necessary stop being enough?

And how long is this going to go on? Through the weekend? Seriously? What if the guy is long gone? What if he killed himself somewhere and his body isn't found for days? What if he killed himself and there is no body--he threw himself in an incinerator? Is Boston going to live in perpetual quasi-lockdown? I suppose everything happened so fast overnight and morning rush hour was coming and they had to make a call. But is this really book procedure? It's a bad signal and a large-type invitation to others to shut down other cities.