Early Thursday morning, it was announced the FBI would be releasing images of suspicious people to the public. Apparently the dual hopes of the FBI were that citizens who recognized the suspects would come forward or that release of their images might so unnerve the suspects that they would commit errors leading to their apprehension. Each of these objectives was eventually realized. Americans, victims and their families hoped that the perpetrators would be captured quickly, without further casualties.
Reports signaling release of footage to the public persisted throughout the morning, but no images were released until approximately 5 p.m. Two things dominated the day’s coverage. One was an ongoing account of the flight of Air Force One from the Washington area to Boston and back again, carrying the Obamas to an interfaith service and hospital visitations after the service.
The other event that dominated our television screens was the service itself. To one tuning in only occasionally to see if suspect images had been revealed, this appeared as a succession of consoling, reflective and assuring statements spoken by a gathering of clerics and politicians. During the afternoon, for what seemed at least an hour, there were actually a number of cameras focused on a sitting Air Force One waiting at Logan airport for the return of the presidential entourage. No suspect photos were to be seen.
The question remains as to why it took so long. By the time the release of photos began to aid officers in the hunt for perpetrators — tragically at approximately 10 p.m. — the alleged bombers were blessed with the comfort of darkness while the brave, courageous, stalwart and determined force of searchers, as well as the public at large, were in greater jeopardy. Would the second captured suspect, wounded and probably leaving a blood trail, have been able to elude arrest for so long had it been daylight?