By necessity, the earliest reports and assessments of a complex series of major events such as happened not 24 hours ago, cannot be “the first drafts of history.” There simply is not enough time to gather adequate information — and I hope we all agree that there are many dots that we just cannot connect to show the shape of the larger story.
David Remnick’s piece in The New Yorker gathers some of what is known at the moment and offers his initial opinions. It’s fine work in record time, but far from what he will have to say as we read his further explorations into this story.
Any first year law student learns that we only think we know much of what we see. And that is a really far cry from understanding it. Where does that leave us with the even less reliable information we hear?
I have lived here in Watertown, MA, for decades, but my home is at least a mile from the scene of the action. I heard from friends hunkered down in their basements as bullets flew, and watched, on TV, things unfolding in familiar streets.
However, the only thing I know first hand is that armored vehicles and police cars closed off the end of our one block long street. That at least a dozen military men in camo, with dogs, and carrying machine guns at the ready, came door to door to each house. We answered their questions, thanked them, and they thoroughly searched out yards. And then moved on to the next street.
We need all the early accounts — for our safety, our peace of mind, to quell rumors, to share our experiences. The range and the depth of the articles, essays, books that come later are what we will learn from.