By now you’ve heard. There were a couple of explosions at the Boston Marathon yesterday. Last I checked, three people were killed and 130 people were being treated for injuries sustained in the blasts. By now, it wouldn’t surprise me if the numbers on both counts climbed.
One of those reported killed was an eight-year-old
girl. Who may have been running to show support for the victims of the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut last December. Or maybe she who was just a spectator in the wrong place at the wrong time. The boy, Martin Richard, was apparently moving to greet his father at the finish line when the bomb exploded. But still. Eight years old. Her His life snuffed out in an instant. [Update: Edited after SarcasticTom on Twitter tipped me off that the victim wasn't a little girl.]
I’m not going to link to too many articles in the post. Two commentaries I’ve seen stand out: This one by Bonnie D. Ford of ESPN.com, and another one by Jason Gay of the Wall Street Journal. As of a quick search a few moments ago, The Guardian is reporting that no one has yet claimed responsibility for the attack. And Boston.com has comments by President Obama and others. OK. That’s it for any links.
I first heard about the bombings a few minutes after they happened, when a co-worker noticed on Twitter that a couple of explosions had occurred. He was hoping that it was just a fluke, that it was something akin to an accidental explosion of a gas line. But at the same time, he was also suspecting something worse.
A short while later, searching Twitter and Google News, I ran across some people complaining that there was so much coverage of the events in Boston, when other terrorist attacks had occurred in Iraq and elsewhere yesterday. And if you search, you can easily find articles about a rash of bombings in Iraq yesterday that killed at least 42 people, according to CNN.com.
And let me say, all attacks on civilians anywhere in the world should be condemned. They are tragic and unnecessary losses of life. Sadly, we’ve come to expect certain types of horrors in other parts of the world. And maybe because of that, the media pays less attention to those events. Gives them short shrift.
Or it could just be a case of proximity. What happens in my neighborhood is more immediate and compelling than something that occurs halfway around the world. The closer we live to an event, the more likely it is to affect people we know. My wife has friends who compete at Boston, actually. Some were there and are safe. Others missed this year’s race, and they are safe, too.
There is another element to this, though, that keeps floating around in my mind. And that is, regardless of what happens elsewhere, the thing about the bombings in Boston is that we don’t expect them to happen at an athletic event (unless you’re a Hollywood filmmaker whose movie is “Two Minute Warning“, and that’s about a psychotic sniper, not a bomber). Sports events are supposed to be celebrations of the triumph of human spirit. Especially long, grueling endurance events like the Boston Marathon.
And yet, in the midst of that, someone — or some group — decided to inflict horror on those in attendance. For what purpose, we don’t know. Responsible media outlets and commentators have noted that it’s too soon to say why this occurred. Bravo to them for that. I suspect we all have our mental checklist of the usual suspects. And we could play a parlor game of what might have motivated such an evil deed.
But what’s the point? Playing parlor games doesn’t change the fact that people died for no good reason. Merely because they were attending or participating in a sporting event. After the Oklahoma City bombings, a whole lot of commentators jumped on the bandwagon that it must’ve been foreign terrorists that did such an unspeakable thing — ignoring the obvious question of, “Why Oklahoma City?” And in the end, it was a bunch of home-grown terrorists who committed the crime.
It hasn’t begun, yet, but you can bet there are some media outlets that will be bent on smearing certain politicians, asking, “Why didn’t (fill in the blank) take action to stop this heinous crime?” You know it’s going to happen. Maybe not today or tomorrow. But in a week. Or a month. Or a couple of months. It’s going to happen. And I’m going to call bullshit on that right now. Unless they have specific information that someone knew ahead of time and did nothing, that is just a crock, merely to gin up controversy and ratings.
Such behavior deserves the mocking it will get by the likes of the Jon Stewarts and Stephen Colberts of the world. And by the rest of us. It’s irresponsible to the n-th degree. And those who do it should be roundly drummed out of the journalism profession.
What we know is this: Some evil, sick, twisted individuals unleashed a couple of bombs at the finish line of the Boston Marathon yesterday. For reasons as yet unexplained. People died. People were injured. For. No. Good. Reason.
When the long arm of justice catches up with the perpetrators, I certainly hope they get punishment in line with their crimes. The darker side of me wishes we could blow them up once for each person they killed or injured. But, of course, that’s not possible.
Yes, those other events yesterday are just are just as tragic. Should the media have focused more on them rather than on the events in Boston? Maybe. It may depend on where you live. Terrorism at a sporting event is pretty big news. At least, it is in my neighborhood.