It's what Davis said next that confounded me:
So the bus connects with the transit authorities with the subways. So the question was, can we shut down the bus route. Well, if we shut down the bus route we're going to strand people who come to that bus everyday. Well, let's shut down just that line of the transit. Well if you shut that down people are going to be stranded at different spots where it gets shut down. So Rich Davey really laid it out, he said, "This is an all or nothing proposition." And that really did set the stage for the debate.
Yes, if you shut down a bus line, people at various stops on the line will be stranded. And if you shut down a train line, same deal. But by what logic do those premises lead to the conclusion that one must shut down all bus lines or no bus lines?
Back to the story:
I remember the governor asking, "Are you saying we're going to shut the trains down coming from Lowell and down south? We're going to shut everything down? And Rich said, "That's the choice you have to make—you're either in this or you're not." And then we started to talk about the snowstorm that had happened just a few weeks beforehand. We had shut the city down because of a snow threat. And I said to the governor, we don't know—at the time there were a lot of unfolding events, that a cell may have been activated. There were three different incidents in play that led us to believe that this might be a wider conspiracy than just the two brothers. I said to the governor, "we don't know what we have here. This is at least as dangerous as a snowstorm. I think we tell people to stay home, take the day off, and let us catch this guy." And the governor and the mayor went back and forth. The mayor was not in support of shutting the city down. But the governor made the call.
Again, as best I can tell, the premise, "That's the choice you have to make—you're either in this or you're not," is just false. Lots of intermediate choices were available. At the very least, they should have been regarded as plausible, attractive options. In hindsight, it is abundantly clear that they were superior options.
Here's the rest of Davis' story:
INTERVIEWER: Did you have a sense of when it would end?
No we didn't. We were in this for the long run. And even though many of my officers hadn't slept in days we were going to run this thing to ground and make sure that 20-block area that we had cordoned off was fully searched. And one of the problems was, the governor was getting pressure from the president to open up the city. The governor tells the story, and I've heard him tell it several times now, that he was back in the statehouse trying to catch some rest on the couch, and the president called and said you have to get this thing lifted. To give the governor credit, he gave us the extra time where we were convinced we had hit most of the places, so the bottom line was, we got a very good search done that basically flushed him out of a certain area into the boat. And then when that gentleman in Watertown went out to have a smoke, he saw that something had gone amiss with his boat and called police in.
In fact, the suspect was apprehended only shortly after the governor lifted the voluntary "shelter in place" order, knowing he could only keep the metropolitan area on lockdown for so long and concluding that the suspect wouldn't be caught soon enough.