Boston bombing Copley Square
Photo by AgnosticPreachersKid via Wikimedia

OMG, OMG, OMG, OMG….the disembodied voice cries as the TV cameras pan the bloodied site of yesterday’s bombing at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. This unidentified person spoke for all of us expressing disbelief, horror, sadness as she repeated over and over: OMG, OMG, OMG.

Finishing a marathon is usually a time when we revel in the triumph of human determination to accomplish what others find impossible – running a footrace for 26.5 miles. Boston is the Granddaddy of all marathons…this being its 116th year. For anyone who has ever run one marathon and still wanted to run another, qualifying for Boston has crossed their minds at least once. Many people train for months or even years to be able to perform their best in such a prestigious race.

Families and friends and even strangers come out in droves to cheer the runners on. I was surprised when I ran my first marathon in New York City on a beautiful fall day a bunch of years ago that people I didn’t know pointed to me from the sidelines saying, “Go Ronzoni Woman #2457” – calling out the name of the sponsor and my runner number. Shades of Sally Fields, I thought, “Wow, they like me, they really like me.” It kept me going and made me feel very special.


The aftermath of the bombing

So, how deeply disturbing it is that on an occasion when legions of supporters gathered together in Copley Square to celebrate the amazing feat of thousands of endurance runners completing this grueling event, some twisted perpetrator(s) set off bombs filled with shrapnel that blew off the legs of bystanders, killing 3 people including the 8 year old son of one of the runners.

We don’t yet know if this is domestic or foreign terrorism…but it is terrorism…designed to make us afraid of our American way of life. Yes, we will tighten up security and families will avoid crowds for a while, but it won’t make us cower or choose to close our open society. It makes us sad and angry and resolute, but it doesn’t intimidate us.

We will get better and better at fighting terrorism over time, but we probably won’t ever be able to catch all the evil-doers before they carry out their acts of hate and destruction. Our institutions will keep us as safe as possible, although we never will be completely safe.   Human beings have always lived with uncertainty – sometimes, despite our best efforts bad things happen – be it terror, or tornadoes, or other types of tragedies.

All of us at TDWI are somber today thinking about the senseless loss of life and limbs that resulted from the bombing. We send our heartfelt condolences to the victims and their families. We send our thanks to the good people in the great city of Boston who ran towards, instead of away from, the bomb blasts to help rescue those who were injured. We honor the police, paramedics, doctors, nurses, everyone who works in Boston’s hospitals who did their jobs so well despite the horror of the circumstances. It is so comforting to know that despite our differences, Americans do pull together when tragedy strikes.