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A nation of police scanner rebels

Not long after the enormity of what had happened at the finish line of the Boston Marathon began to sink in to the culture at large on Monday afternoon, someone I follow on Twitter posted a link to a live feed of Boston's police scanner. I immediately started listening. I wasn't alone. When I signed on there were 5,000 other listeners; a few minutes later, 10,000, then 20,000.

And then I turned it off. The staccato bursts of information were too chaotic, too jumbled, too contradictory for me to make much sense of. I needed more filtered news. Sure, it's way cool and still kind of mind-blowing that I can sit at my desk in Berkeley, Calif., and listen to police officers in Boston warn each other about suspicious packages that might contain explosive devices, but it wasn't helping me understand what was happening.

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