WASHINGTON — On Friday, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev—the second suspect in the April 15 Boston Marathon bombings—was apprehended by authorities, bringing the massive, highly-publicized manhunt to a close, and throwing the United States Congress into a panic. Sources indicate that leading members of Congress are dismayed that the nation will no longer be consumed—and thus conveniently distracted—by the events in Boston, the attention to which allowed the Congress to pass two deeply unpopular measures, CISPA and the partial repeal of the STOCK Act, both of which “never would have made it through if people wouldn’t have been so enthralled [with the manhunt].”
A House member, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told Newslo that he and his colleagues are grateful for the small window of general inattention they were granted by the Boston terrorist attack, but that “there was so much more [they] could have done.” He continued, “I mean, sheesh, did they have to catch him so fast? Everyone knows you let the tension build as long as possible before wrapping the story up.”
In the days immediately following the bombing of the Boston Marathon, and during the dramatic search for the perpetrators, Congress passed two measures with uncharacteristic speed and unanimity. The first, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), gives the government unprecedented access to information about private Internet users’ online behavior. The second measure repealed important facets of 2012’s popular Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act, which, in its original form, barred members of Congress from trading stocks based on nonpublic information they had obtained through their positions, and also forced them to disclose a greater amount of their personal finances, to make conflicts of interest more visible. CISPA has faced strong criticism from civil rights and internet freedom groups, and the STOCK Act was supported by a large majority of voters; but, with the media entirely focused on the events in Boston, as well as a massive fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas, Congress was able to pass both measures quietly and without major public scrutiny.
Despite these legislative victories, some lawmakers hoped for more time away from the public spotlight. “I had a great bill that would have sold the National Parks to ExxonMobil, and another that would have made Senate seats lifetime appointments,” an anonymous junior senator commented. “But alas, our time ran out. Man—if only Tsarnaev were a better fugitive, like Leonardo in Catch Me if You Can!”
“I don’t know what to do with myself,” the senator continued. “It was a thrilling few days, and I guess I’m hung over. But who knows? It’s an unpredictable world. I’m holding out hope that we’ll experience another horrific national tragedy in the very near future.”