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Madison native, Ole Miss grad: Boston shutdown ‘eerie’ (Updated with words about Houston Nutt)

Bob Lynch, 26, is a Madison native and 2008 Ole Miss graduate who is a graduate student at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in Boston. He’s pursuing a masters degree in international relations. Lynch, who runs the popular Ole Miss blog Red Cup Rebellion, was one of the Mississippians affected by the Boston Marathon bombings and the subsequent pursuit of the two suspects that closed Boston and neighboring areas for the better part of two days last week.

He recently participated in an interview with the Mississippi Business Journal.

What part of the Boston area do you live in, and how close is that to where most of the suspects’ interaction with law enforcement took place?

I live in the northwestern part of Cambridge, which is where the suspects are from. More specifically, my house is a few miles northwest of MIT, where the suspects killed a campus police officer and where the older suspect died from wounds suffered in the firefight. The younger suspect (assuming I have the story correct here) then stole a car and drove across Cambridge to the south of my house before heading further southwest to Waterton where there was a firefight before most of Friday’s manhunt began. Waterton borders Cambridge on the southwest, and much of the action there was also just a few miles away from my house.

Take us through the events Thursday night, when authorities first encountered the two brothers. When and how did you notice something was amiss?

I was actually asleep through the firefight and explosion at MIT. My girlfriend woke me up at around 5:30 or 6 to tell me what had happened, and to let me know that everyone was being asked to stay indoors due to an ongoing manhunt. I immediately turned on the television and watched what was going on in Waterton unfold for probably three or four hours. I was checking Twitter and Facebook the entire time, and had plenty of family and friends from all over, including Mississippi, calling and texting me to make sure I was okay.

How would you describe the period when the Boston area was under the “shelter-in-place” order?

Eerie, somewhat scary, and mostly boring. During the morning, it seemed like they were going to catch the second suspect rather quickly, so I was not too worried about missing school and work. Then all sorts of closings were announced – schools, businesses, municipal offices, etc. – and it became apparent that this wasn’t going to be over for a while. It is really odd to not see any traffic or people on the sidewalks. In a way it is quite haunting. Adding to that the fact that they still had not located the suspect, and that he is from the city I live in, made me worry a bit that he could he hiding not too far from where I live. (Editor’s note: Authorities captured the second suspect Friday night.)

After a while, though, you start to get stir crazy and, frankly, pretty annoyed by the whole situation. I completely understand why they do not want people and traffic getting in the way of an ongoing manhunt, so I am not criticizing the decision. I am just saying that it is pretty unpleasant.

How was the order enforced? In other words, did law enforcement do things like house checks to keep people off the streets?

They did not, but it seems to me like they did not really need to. The almost constant sound of sirens in the background served as a reminder to us that they still had not located the suspect and that it would be best for everyone to stay put.

What did you originally have planned for Friday that was interrupted?

My school has a formal dinner and dance every spring called the Diplomat’s Ball. It is one of the most anticipated events of the spring semester, if not the entire academic year. This year, it was going to be located at a very nice venue in downtown Boston and everyone was very much looking forward to it. Unfortunately, the event had to be cancelled due to the shutdown of the trains and taxicab services in Boston.

Is Houston Nutt a great example of the American Dream, or the greatest example?

If the American Dream involves earning an obscenely high salary for doing a terrible job, then totally. He embodies it as well as anybody.

Must-have Mississippi food: Fried catfish with hushpuppies

Favorite movie: Saving Private Ryan

Last book read: A History of the World in 6 Glasses (if you like world history and drinking, this is a great read)

Website: RedCupRebellion.com

Twitter: @BobLynchII (or if you want the blog one it’s @RedCupRebellion)

Facebook: I think it’s facebook.com/pages/red-cup-rebellion

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