EDIT: I find that it is much easier to listen to the police scanner than a news station, because the SNR ratio is much higher. When there is a break in the action, news reporters fill the air time with speculation or repeat the same old information. On the police scanner, when they have no new information, they are silent.
Having said that, I still find it cool to hear an officer ask the dispatcher (on the radio) to tell an overhead helicopter to point a searchlight at a certain location, and moments later see on television a helicopter flying overhead with its searchlight on.
Unfortunately, in some jurisdictions that's hard or impossible to do, as they use digital systems with trunking that made it hard to monitor with a scanner and/or use encryption.
Need I say that I think encrypting this stuff is a bad idea? Even if it may, on rare occasion, benefit a "bad guy" to listen to the police channels, weighed against the need for government transparency, I think the need to keep the comms open for everybody wins out.
But I'd rather try to interpret that myself than get it filtered through the traditional media in quasi-real time (vs. the much more reliable reporting that happens, say, a couple days after everything is over).
Anyone know a working live scanner feed?
UPDATE: "MA State PD and Boston Police have requested via social media to not post search locations for the Boston bombing suspects - the Boston PD feed is temporarily offline due to this request.", http://www.broadcastify.com/listen/mid/13/?rl=rr
During the Boston Marathon bombing, there were, if I remember correctly, over a dozen threads that continued the original conversation, simply because each of the previous threads kept getting hammered by people posting comments.
I am mostly wondering whether it's the threaded nature of a thread on Reddit that makes this a difficult problem, or whether this is reflective of some limitation in the underlying datastore or something.
It's easier to cache and serve a fixed piece of content than to constantly insert and re-compress it (which kills cached versions too)
buro9 : This is just a complete conjecture. I do not know Reddit's internal hardware infrastructure. I just know that real-time police radio transcription is the best news source, bar none. And it's getting hammered.
Are those are by-products of the threaded display? As a flat display of a thread would just result in new pages at the end, all of which would be incredibly cacheable.
live video feed based on shots outside watertown house
ADDED: There's no particularly kind and gentle way to deal with someone throwing explosives at you....
If someone is advancing on you, a known explosives user (during the chase) who's from a region where the use of "suicide vests" is common, and refuses to stop, you without hesitation shoot to stop. And at as far a distance as you can.
The encounter could have been more violent on the part of the deceased, or since he killed a fellow officer it could have been an execution as all too often happens like recently in California. But the event was probably more confused than any of what I'd said here might imply.
All I can say that we know by inference is that the event was confused enough, and/or there were few enough police there, that his brother escaped---actually, I don't think we know that, the brother might have been let off before the stop---and has obviously successfully gone to ground. Likely into an apartment or home, and they're going to have to search house to house, apartment to apartment, could take quite a while assuming he is inside the 25 block? cordoned off area in Watertown. Not too familiar with that suburb, but I lived in Cambridge and surrounding mostly urban suburbs for a dozen years, it's likely a densely populated area. Even with a maximum effort by all it could drag on for more than a day, or he could get flushed out a minute from now.
ADDED: while all current accounts from the media are highly suspect, this: http://boston.cbslocal.com/2013/04/19/report-boston-marathon... would fit in what else we've heard or can discern:
"According to WBZ-TV’s Joe Shortsleeve, MBTA transit police intercepted the Mercedes in Cambridge and followed it.
"A source told Shortsleeve the brothers lost control of the car and crashed it. A gunfight with police erupted and an MBTA police officer was shot and seriously wounded.
"Miller reported that Tamerlan Tsarnaev threw a bomb at police as he approached them and that’s when officers shot and killed him.
"Shortsleeve’s source said Dzhokhar Tsarnaev then jumped back in the Mercedes, drove over his brother’s body, threw bombs at police and crashed again. He ran off, firing a weapon and that sparked the massive manhunt in Watertown."
A university police officer has died after being shot on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology campus in Cambridge late Thursday, according to state police.
http://www.broadcastify.com/listen/feed/6254/web via Reddit.
Note: the carjacking happened in the same direction from MIT as Watertown.
I just wonder whether we will look back in 12 months time at the "week of hell" and realise that it was actually just a week in which we found all the things that usually go on every week that we don't hear about.
(I have family in Roxbury, Dorchester and Mattapan)
Generally speaking, the areas around MIT and Harvard are relatively safe, although muggings and petty theft aren't unheard of. Things have been a lot better since they cleaned up Central Square in the 1990's.
Note that the following link only include incidents in which bullets actually hit people. http://www.bpdnews.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/Shooting...
Has it really gotten a lot safer. not counting this unique sort of incident?
This does not, of course, include justifiable homicides.
ETA: So as not to scare anyone remember that in major cities typically between 65% and 91% of murder victims are criminals, and most of the killings are gang related.
I've never even heard a gunshot, and I don't know anyone who ever has.
Generally, Americans do the "Out of sight, out of mind" thing when they hear about violence. They only care when it's happening in situations where they could see themselves.
Kid gets shot walking on the sidewalk in inner-city Camden for wearing the wrong color shirt? Meh, he was probably a gangbanger anyway.
Kid gets shot in Cambridge? Oh no, the sky is falling.
People outside the US have this image of people dodging bullets left and right as they walk down the street.
More accurately stated I suppose, I had previously thought I lived in a developed area.
The crowd is not "Hate America".
The Crowd is "America needs to get better". The first step to fixing problems in to acknowledge they exist.
I don't know about you, I strive for constant improvement in my life.
I am quite pro-gun (remember the part about growing up around a lot of responsible gun owners?), but you making the kind of comments that make me strongly reconsider identifying that way. Hurling insults around does not contribute to the discussion; it is just childish and makes you look desperate.
Of course, as jlgreco pointed out, you're only showing your ignorance to the topic and hand by trying to deflect the real issue with insults at me.
It's shocking/hilarious/sad you need to resort to that, instead of actually addressing the issue at hand.
If you compare stats for all the factors that really make a difference for quality of life for the average person on the street (healthcare, education, death rates, crime rates, pollution, safety, etc. just to name a few), you'll see America is very often comparable to developing nations, and not often comparable to developed nations. In many cases, it's staggering far behind the best in the world.
Food for thought.
I'm from one of the Developed countries that ranks above the US in every major category that counts.
It's always so interesting to see Americans who interpret "make it better" as "taking pot shots"
What's so inherently wrong with admitting there are problems and working towards improving them?
Although, I've been there couple of times, yes I totally agree with you. A couple of times in my visit, gun shots plus/followed by siren wails in the distance have had the combined effect of inducing sleepless nights and prayer-mode in me, many times. :-)
I know, I know... crossing the street, swimming, etc., all carry equal risks, but for a lot of people like me, "rat-a-tat" and "bang-bang-kapwing" is great, as long as it is seen on comic books, films and cheesy batman TV serials.
Then again, I grew up in a very rural area, but guns are - from my perspective - an absolutely routine, normal, everyday part of life. I guess that's why I find it so hard to "get" the mindset of the radical antigunners here, who act like guns are intrinsically "evil" and seem to think that a gun can pick itself up off a table and go out and shoot somebody.
And HN should care - Stata is full of CS people.
I'd like to tell you what happened next, but I got down on the floor until the commotion ended.
But yes, this was not a common occurrence.
The worst part is it happened during pre-frosh weekend, when admitted high school students were invited to visit and experience MIT for a few days.
"On campus" is kind of a more vague thing with MIT than with some other schools, since it was in the 1990s and before a very open campus in the middle of a city, with a few major roads running through it.
That being said, there are more objective measures we could use, such as "made The Tech" (outside the police log), which this already has.
So this is a bit meatier a problem.
lots more details
EDIT: Comments below me that are pointing out that this is a big deal as far as MIT is concerned....... please refer to the OP's full remarks (and michaelochurch's addendum). I'll highlight a small point from OP's remark:
>> After all, "shots fired" is not an uncommon thing in many cities in the US.
^^^That^^^. I am pretty sure it is unique and uncommon for wherever it is currently happening. I empathise with people there, and honest to God, for someone not from the USA, I would be pretty freaked out if I were to be living there.
But on the whole gun-related incidents are not that uncommon to begin with on a when viewed from County/State/Country perspective -- which the OP wants us to remember and meditate at this point.
P.S: There were some Coursera course(s) also, that actually tackle this point more scientifically. But, now is not the time to be Spock!
EDIT 2: Ahh, I just noticed the timeline on those comments, they are older than my comment. Ooops. I'll let my comments stand, as I feel they summarise the OP's point in some detail, but letting people know, I am aware of my small faux-paus.
I know this from listening to the scanner regularly.
Like so many things, "it depends".
The mid-April week has always had a higher-than-normal rate of manic-type (e.g. spree killings) violence, and there are a lot of theories about it (spring inciting grandeur in unstable men) but no one knows why. Those are very rare, high-visibility events, though. Overall, that time is no more dangerous than any other. (There's only about a +/- 5 percent seasonal difference in violent crime, with summer and December being the worst).
They do have several hundred non-violent crimes per year.
There is a serious problem with HN when stories like this get so many up-votes. This story is against the site guidelines. There isn't anything deeply interesting in the comments.
In Watertown, Spruce and Lincoln.
Update: one suspect reportedly in custody en route to hospital. Sounds like second suspect has been taken into custody as well. Later update: NOT clear that second suspect is in custody.
Edit: Rough location of the armed confrontation where the suspect(s) were taken into custody and the second officer was reported down. https://maps.google.com/maps?q=spruce+st,+Cambridge,+MA&...
Update (1:41am est): Does not seem like second suspect is currently in custody...
Some people are having trouble getting it to load. 50k listeners - that may be higher than when I was listening after the bombing - try a couple different windows and refreshing. Once connected it's very clear audio (I've been listening flawlessly for over 30 minutes).
Not sure about other mirrors but they must exist.
Edit: Here's a mirror - http://tunein.com/radio/Boston-Police-Fire-and-EMS-Scanner-s...
Live WCVB coverage
 Image of Suspect #1 lying on the ground earlier suspected to have explosives underneath his clothing.
 Took into custody only after fully undressing.
 Was put in police vehicle naked.
I'm watching http://www1.whdh.com/video/7newslive muted along with the police scanner. I cannot believe these crazy TV news people...
I believe news 7 did a live report in front of the family's home of a person that died at the marathon...at 11pm. They really are heartless.
Moments ago, WCVB had a live shot of the suspect lying on the ground arms stretched in front of him on the asphalt with police officers guns drawn but receding from him.
He may have warned them of detonating possible explosives on him.
GABE RAMIREZ (CNN Photojournalist)
Suspect was taken into custody after disrobing fully.
Suspect was put in the police vehicle "fully undressed."
"Thin darker skinned individual"
(All that on the police scanner in the last minute or so)
Kinda feels weird sitting in Jamaica listening to the police scanner around MIT.
Kinda awesome too - I know the tech is simple...but actually experiencing it, gives you this "world is small" feeling.
I wonder how that could be arranged.
MIT issued an emergency alert at 10:48 on Monay night reporting shots fired on the university campus. The school newspaper reports, "Shots fired near 32 Vassar St (Stata Center), police officer down. Please stay inside." For now, details are scarce, but the suspect is on the loose and considered armed and extremely dangerous.
This is a developing story. We'll update you as new information comes in.
> The search followed a violent night in which authorities say the men allegedly hurled explosives at pursuers after killing a university police officer, robbing a convenience store and hijacking a car.
> ...Soon after, in Cambridge, across the Charles River from Boston, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer was fatally shot while he sat in his car, the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office said in statement. Police believe the bombing suspects were responsible for the shooting.
Another remains on the loose in Watertown after a firefight with police. Authorities have established a 20-block perimeter as they search for him.
Via Boston Globe:
Does this source seem accurate? Remember that the globe AND CNN previously claimed an arrest in the marathon bombings had been made and it was incredibly embarrassing.
> Authorities would not comment on whether the events were connected to Monday’s Boston Marathon bombings. At least one of the suspects in Watertown appeared to be a man in his 20s.
However, the first paragraph still says basically what it said when you posted.
> One suspect in Monday’s Boston Marathon bombings has been captured
Manually transcribed from police scanner:
EDIT: And officer down. That's been confirmed again.
EDIT 2: Two suspects down, one sent to hospital.
Holy shit... WTF is going on up there?!?
Update: One suspect in custody
Sounds like there are explosives...
REMEMBER this is a chase that went from MIT to Watertown. This is NOT at MIT...far away now.
They're talking about robots on the scene with "devices". It sounds like there are some suspicious devices, potentially explosives. Yikes.
They need to be incredibly careful with the 2nd suspect if we want any conclusive answers to why all of this happened.
Hope Boston becomes normal soon
So you'd have to deducted the people killed in making sites like these first. So a web site is possibly $40,000. A humans life in the US is probably worth around $2,000,000. So it might cost one 50th of a humans life to create a site like this.
I'd guess not, but the figures are complicated, the site is used for other things for starters.
I'd suspect a suicide help line would be better money spent. Don't drink and drive campaigns, healthy eating, quitting smoking help all far better returns I'd guess.
This is not what can be produced in the average human life, which is probably more like $1 million as I estimated recently here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5543848 . Instead, it's how much it costs to save a human life on the margin, which is the applicable number here.
2. My impression from previous things I've read is that suicide lines are largely ineffective.
Obviously there are huge differences between humans.
Still I agree with you. Have a couple of upvotes. You can put a dollar value on a human life but it doesn't really cover it. Life is more than dollars and cents.
You cannot compare 'human lives' by comparing dollars. And surely, the site does not "cost" one 50th of "a" human life.
According to Wikipedia -- $6-7M per life in the US.
I wonder if someone would be brave enough to even predict these figures.
While things like a gunman on campus is most certainly an emergency, these systems also serve other messages. Things like other emergencies (earthquakes, for example), snow days, we're just testing the emergency alarms today, etc.
Edit because I had another thought: the whole field of emergency preparedness in higher education is rather fascinating. Most of what I found interesting I had heard second-hand from clients, but you might find it quite interesting.
Text messages during emergencies? Not a chance. Not when they don't even work for a simple test (hour delays!)
You ask yourself how people dealt with large-scale civil emergencies before cellphones became widespread. There were such things as warning sirens, and of course the police with loudspeaker vans. They are still doing that today - every time a hurricane is set to hit Miami the emergency services make the rounds of low-lying areas to get the word out to the homeless.
And a gunman or shooter on campus just cannot be hid - people shout warnings, someone will alert the police, who will then cordon off the area. The costs for the messaging system are obvious, high, and altogether the thing appears more like ass-covering for the administration than something that has tangible benefits.
I was wrong. But news outlets are reporting the people responsible for this tragedy are the same people suspected for the Boston Marathon bombing.
"multiple locations of devices"... Damn.
Anyone can edit.
This is the article they link to:
MIT has NOT called off the lock down yet: http://emergency.mit.net/
There is something a bit perverse about the disparity in the media attention given to violence that occurs north of the Mass Pike versus south of the Pike.
Cached version of FB page :
Twitter account :
ABC News segment from March 30, 2013:
Police scanner identifies the names of Boston marathon suspects.
Suspect 1: Mike Mulugeta
Suspect 2: Sunil Tripathi
Middlesex DA: One suspect ( donning a black hat in previously released FBI images ) is dead, second suspect is at large, and is believed to be armed and dangerous.
Boston PD releases picture of Suspect 2 retrieved earlier from the 7-Eleven convenience store, possibly the site of the carjacking.
Home video footage from a street in Watertown where the exchange of gunfire took place earlier in the night, during which Suspect 1 may have been killed.
Photo of billboard displaying a missing person alert for Sunil Tripathi
This has to really suck for them. I can't imagine what they must be going through right now...
Edit: Just 10 days ago his family and friends made this video: http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/Missing-Brown-Stud...
To go from that to discovering he's one of the marathon bombers...
Edit 2: Looks like he isn't a suspect after all (someone said his name on the police scanner and it spread through the net like wildfire): https://twitter.com/BuzzFeedAndrew/status/325176638537076736
I flagged the entire thread immediately. I suggest you do the same in the future. This does not belong on HN.
Wait, is that confirmed?
which seemed legit, until I read the source:
which seems really sketchy. I've seen it a bunch of places, making it seem like it was confirmed but people are now refuting it:
I hope for his family's sake it's not him.
Edit: And it seems confirmed that it isn't: http://hosted2.ap.org/CAANR/e109e277e48c4e219e07a1d4710177b3...
Update: It's semi-official now (on WCVB): the two men were apparently from Chechnya.
AP just confirmed the name of the second suspect and it's not one of those above.
You're smearing innocents.
Suspects are Chechnyan brothers: 19 and 20.
1. Tamerlan Tsarnaev [dead]
2. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev [still at large]
Dzhokhar is trapped somewhere in a 20 block radius in the town of Watertown, that is being searched by the police.
: Live Google News Updates: https://goo.gl/f5HTZ
EDIT: As I follow the news, it becomes clearer that a large majority of the information is coming from the police scanner. It is interesting to see the way old and new technologies are mixing in the coverage. The reddit thread is essentially a scraper of the scanner; it is very useful to have access to the transcription of important audio because you can take breaks without worrying about missing something.
EDIT 2: Because the names haven't been confirmed yet (Pete Williams says that Tripathi is not suspect #2), and have been removed from the original article, I thought I would change my post accordingly. The names were picked up from the BPD scanner.
[NAME 1: Mike Mulugeta]
[NAME 2: Sunil Tripathi]
I am still listening to the police feed as I type.
From which police officer? I do not know. Probably command central.
Heck video games depended on people filling in the blanks when using low rez sprites to convey information, and it still works swimmingly.
People will see everything from Marlin Brando to the Mona Lisa in low resolution images, while their brain will happily fill in the blanks.
08.49: The names Sunil or Sunny have been heard on the
Boston police scanner tonight referring to Suspect No 2,
the man who is still on the run. Sunil Tripathi, a
philosophy major at Brown University has been missing for
a month. Local press reports say that Boston police have
identified him as a suspect.
Mr Tripathi is described as a left-wing Marxist of
Indian Brahmin descent, whose father is a successful
software developer. His family set up a Twitter account
and a Facebook page last month to help the search for
him. Mr Tripathi was first identified as a suspect in a
crowdsleuthing exercise on the Reddit website.
The other suspect, who was wearing the black hat, has
been named as Mike Mulugeta. He is thought to have died
in hospital after a shoot-out with police.
Their identities have not been officially confirmed.
Update: AP now reports the suspect is Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev