Boston Bombings: The Aftermath And The Stories
With the enormity of the media coverage of the terrifying bombings in Boston on Monday the 15th, and the spectacular manhunt that followed, it would be redundant of me to […]
With the enormity of the media coverage of the terrifying bombings in Boston on Monday the 15th, and the spectacular manhunt that followed, it would be redundant of me to devote a whole article to explaining what happened. However, some of the stories and images that have emerged struck me as powerful enough that they were worth writing about, and hopefully prove interesting to read (if not ‘entertaining’ in the sense that the incident was extremely serious). For the uninformed, here is an incredibly brief summary of the story. If you know all this already, skip ahead!
The historical and popular Boston Marathon in the US state of Massachusetts on Monday was subject to a double bombing attack when two explosions went off on the pavements where spectators were crowding along the road near the finish line of the race. The result was three dead, and around 170 injured: some with horrific disfigurements and lost limbs.
A manhunt began quickly, with areas of Boston being shut down. After lots of unhelpful speculation, some photos emerged of the suspects and by Thursday evening they had been located at the campus of MIT where a shoot out cost the life of an MIT police officer, and one of the suspects. The remaining suspect escaped amid more gunfire and explosions, and was found during the next day when: on the verge of giving up: police lifted a curfew on residents in the Watertown area where the bomber had last been seen.
After emerging from his house, one resident called the police when he followed a trail of blood to his boat on the driveway and found an injured but alive suspect hiding under the tarp. A two hour standoff followed, with more gunfire exchanged, before the man was finally brought into custody.
I won’t spend words and words analysing and arguing, but I do want to share with you three individual stories that stuck in my mind amidst all the news reports and flurries of responses and speculation. Here’s the first one, a thought provoking post on Reddit from a diligent user who decided not to focus on the bombers at all. He reasons that they don’t deserve the attention, and instead we should remember the innocent victims who died by their hands; and to that end he’s compiled a short list of their names and descriptions.
The second story I found impressive was that of one man named on the above list. Jeff Bauman was watching his girlfriend run the marathon when he spotted one of the bombers dropping his rucksack in the crowd. Shortly afterwards, he was caught very close to the blast, and suffered very severe injuries to his legs. As soon as he recovered in hospital, he asked for pen and paper and wrote that he had seen the bomber.
Within hours, he was able to identify the man from pictures provided by the police; and shortly afterwards the FBI sent photos to media outlets. Again, I won’t gush over this achievement, but I encourage you to read more about him, and take some solace in the dedication of people like this in helping others despite personal tragedy.
Finally, a photo began circulating which showed a uniquely sensitive solidarity between victims of violence. Syrian rebels were shown holding a sign explaining that the violence Boston had experienced was something they lived with every day, and that the city should accept their condolences. What struck me was the sensitivity and empathy on display, and how they managed to simultaneously draw attention to the terrible situation in Syria without belittling the tragedy in Boston: despite the differences in scale. Not long afterwards, the Bostonians replied in kind with a photo of their own. I’ll leave you with those images: