(By American Zen
's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari.)
“We still do not know who did this or why, and people shouldn’t jump to
conclusions before we have all the facts. But
make no mistake, we will get to the bottom of this. We will find out who
did this, we will find out why they did this. Any responsible
individuals, any responsible groups, will feel the full weight of
” - President Barack Obama
, April 15, 2013
What makes terrorism so effective is in its invariably hideous timing,
its genius in fully exploiting the element of surprise. It's a Pamplona
that suddenly materializes in a china shop, a freak hailstorm on a July
day. And, as with September 11th, 2001, the Boston Marathon bombing
couldn't have been timed worse, or better, depending on your ideological
stripe. That Tuesday morning 11 1/2 years ago was also a sunny day,
with people just arriving or going to work. It started out perfectly.
The Boston Red Sox pulled off their second walkoff win in a week and
many leaving Fenway rushed to Boylston Street to catch the last of the
marathoners cross the finish line.
Yet what happened at
Copley Square at 2:50 yesterday afternoon was especially insidious. The
two bombs were strategically placed at or near the finish line roughly
three hours after the mens' and womens' victors crossed the finish line
(or when the bulk of runners would be thickest) at a race that for 117
years has been a Boston tradition. Copley Square was named after John
Singleton Copley, a Boston artist. Originally named "Art Square", Copley
Square is in one of the most historic and culture-drenched parts of
Boston. It was intended to establish the Bay State's capital city's
artistic bona fides and, for many years, it had done just that.
According to Wikipedia, institutions adjacent or near Copley Square:
include the Museum of Fine Arts, the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology, Harvard Medical School, the New England Museum of Natural
History (today's Museum of Science), Trinity Church, the New Old South
Church, the Boston Public Library, the American Academy of Arts and
Sciences, the Massachusetts Normal Art School (today's Massachusetts
College of Art), the Horace Mann School for the Deaf, Boston University,
Emerson College and Northeastern University.
Those institutions are not mere aspirations but among the glories of New England and the United States.
Yet, within 14 seconds yesterday, two trash cans containing two crude
but powerful bombs detonated, sweeping away any pretensions to culture,
peace and civility, forcing professional first responders and good
samaritans alike to play the role of heroes. At last count, at least 170 people were injured
(17 in critical condition) and three killed, including eight year-old Martin Richard
of Dorchester, who stood at the finish line waiting for his father to
cross. And the pictures taken at the moment of the blast showed the
surreal image of countless marathoners actually running toward
Terrorism invariably brings out both the best and worst of people.
Starting with the terrorists who carried out this twin bombing (and it
was terrorism, regardless of what the president may choose not to say:
The trash barrel bombs were impregnated with ball bearings to maximize
the human damage, so essentially we're talking about two larger-scale
Claymores), we saw the worst in Mankind when spectators body-tackled an
injured Saudi national who merely tried to flee from the explosions.
"Muslims" was trending on Twitter minutes after the bombings and right
wingers such as Fox's Erik Rush
was publicly calling for all Muslims to be killed before he cowardly
took down his genocidal tweet. Mob wife and former murder suspect Pam
Gellar wasn't showing much more restraint, herself.
we'd also heard of marathoners who, after running for 26.2 miles,
continued running after the blasts in the direction of Mass General
Hospital in order to donate blood. We saw ordinary bystanders, some of
them injured themselves, who'd coordinated with first responders, every
one of them potentially putting their lives on the line by simply
remaining on the streets. There was the Boston City Police officer who
threw his body on top of someone else's as one of the bombs detonated.
These ordinary citizens, as well as the brave police officers,
firefighters, EMTs and doctors ostensibly on hand to treat nothing more
serious than exhaustion, muscle cramps and dehydration, are to be
endlessly lauded for seeing to the nonpartisan dead and injured. And, of
course, there was Carlos Arredondo
, who along with his wife lost two sons, a 20 year-old to a sniper in Najaf, Iraq in 2004 and an older son to suicide.
As with September 11th, this is not a time to be pointing fingers and
blaming one race, religion or political faction for what happened.
Nearly 24 hours after the bombing, no suspects have been named and no
group has taken responsibility, as is often the case. This is the time
to come together as fellow Americans and fellow human beings.
I know that comes off sounding like a bromide but it's a bromide
because it is simply true. This is a time for us to take comfort in
eachother's humanity and to not widen partisan differences and reignite
ancient and newer antagonisms.
Because the monster who's responsible for these bombings did so out of just such a mindset.