What if the Boston Bombers Used Rifles Instead of Improvised Explosives

The New Yorker posted an article asking if things would have been different if Boston bombers used rifles instead of bombs. Although the author tries to appear as though he’s not trying to write an anti-gun post he states:

Well, for one thing, the brothers would probably have killed a lot more than three people at the marathon. AR-15s can fire up to forty-five rounds a minute, and at close range they can tear apart a human body. If the Tsarnaevs had started firing near the finish line, they might easily have killed dozens of spectators and runners before fleeing or being shot by the police.

What the author doesn’t note is the other side of the coin. If the Boston bombers used rifles the death toll may have been lower because the police, who had a strong presences at the marathon, would have had identifiable targets and been able to engage them quickly. If the event happened in a state with less gun control the aggressors may could have been engaged even faster.

Engaging bombers is difficult because you need to catch them before they can plant their explosive devices. Once the explosives are in place it’s very difficult to intervene, especially in a crowded area. Aggressors using firearms on the other hand can be engaged during their act. The engagement time can also be reduced by increasing the number of armed individuals in the area.

In an unrelated subject I would also like to point out a pet peeve of mind:

Here’s a little mental experiment. Imagine, for a moment, that the Tsarnaev brothers, instead of packing a couple of pressure cookers loaded with nails and explosives…

The author, like so many others, has apparently judged the Tsarnaev brothers as guilty even though the trial hasn’t begun. Claiming somebody is guilty of a crime before a trail has concluded is one of those things that annoys me. One should always been presumed innocent until they have either confessed to the crime (without being coerced into it or offered a sweetheart plea bargain designed to get a confession without establishing guilt) or have been found guilty by a jury trial. This is why I used the term “Boston bombers” instead of “the Tsarnaev brothers.”