In typical cop humor, the brothers are nicknamed ‘flash bang’ and ‘speed bump.’
If you were around in the 1950s, you can easily recall the Cold War, nuclear bombs and the threat of communism taking over the world. When Phelps Arena at Camden High was built in 1963, there was a bomb shelter underneath the teachers office. If you were of military service age in the 1960s you may have served in Viet Nam as a buffer to stop the “domino” theory where if one country fell to communism then others would follow. For the baby boomers, the specter of communism has always been with us.
Bob Mahoney is a Boston-area police detective who we have had the opportunity to socialize on the last couple of Memorial Days. Bob has had an interesting year.
Bob is a member of Boston’s National American Militia, which is the oldest militia unit in the western hemisphere. The only militia units which are older are the Swiss Guards and the London Royal Artillery Society. This unit meets in the Union Oyster Bar in Boston which is the oldest continuously operated restaurant in the United States. Last October, this Boston unit was asked to represent the U.S. in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Bob’s unit participated in several joint programs which honored the soldiers who fought against the Nazis in WWII.
With a policeman’s eye for detail Bob was asked what is his impression of daily life in Russia. He said everyone worked. There was a 75-year-old female street cleaner who swept the sidewalk with a homemade broom. Bob stated that the ordinary citizen would not look you in the eye. Ivan still must remember the old days of the secret police. There are still large apartment buildings where the citizens are randomly chosen to live together. Your family may share an apartment with several other families.
Bob says that there is still a large police presence and he saw one large lot where the police met every morning and sat beside their personnel carriers and waited for a civil disturbance to break out. Even with a large police force, Bob says that organized crime, the capitalists, run the country. There is a definite economic pecking order and a large class of wealthy people.
Traffic conditions are terrible and leading government officials are heavily escorted. Russian officials still use the practice of making American dignitaries wait at least three hours on a scheduled meeting as Secretary of State Kerry recently discovered.
There are no food lines, but the grocery stores uses a random organization style. The cookies may be beside baby diapers. Detective Mahoney said that a hamburger and two beers cost him $75 in the hotel restaurant. The beers were local and tasty and the vodka is plentiful. Moscow features an abundance of night life. There are scores of different vodkas and he tried some horseradish vodka.
One side note concerning communism: several years ago I roomed with a Cuban gentleman for a week at a business school. He said that he had grown up in Cuba and I stated that the experience must have been traumatic. He said that it was not because there was no crime and he could stay out and play with his friends well past dark as compared with New York city where he spent part of his youth and he was a latchkey kid. His father worked for Pan-Am and his family was late leaving Cuba and his older brother turned 18 and was drafted in the Cuban army. The brother had dual citizenship and with the fighting in Angola he would quickly have become a heroic martyr. He refused induction and was finally released after three years.
Several dinner guests asked the detective what was the inside scoop on the recent Boston bombings. His office was more than 20 miles away, so he was not directly involved but knew several policemen who were. The explosives for the bomb were mostly from fireworks which the brothers purchased in New Hampshire because fireworks cannot be bought in Massachusetts. The trigger mechanism was most likely from a remote toy or plane which kept the bombers at least within 200 feet in proximity from the pressure cooker.
When the Tsaernaev brothers were caught in the shootout, the younger brother escaped by driving over and dragging his older brother several yards. If he was not dead from the gun fire then he was when he became disentangled from the underside of the car, hence the nickname “speed bump.” Where the dead Muslim lay on the road, someone spray painted ‘USA’ to mark the spot.
For decades, there have been stories of Americans flying away from Russia who loudly cheered when they left Russian air space. Bob was asked if this was his case and his reply was no, but he clearly stated that he would not want to live there.
Thank you for your attention.