It was a beautiful afternoon in Boston yesterday — until it wasn’t. On Patriots Day in the city that launched the American Revolution, two bomb blasts were heard ’round the world. With three killed and another 144 injured, some gravely and gruesomely, this year’s Boston Marathon was over, and with it any illusion that terrorism is no longer a serious threat in this country.
The FBI is working hard to find out who did it, but their effort is made difficult by the very things that make the Boston Marathon so special — and such an attractive target: the large crowds, many of foreign origin, with backpacks where a bomb could be easily hidden.
Terrorists dream about hitting high-profile targets, and this was a big one, the world’s best-known and most prestigious marathon. They dream about doing maximum damage, creating fear and chaos, and they were pretty successful with that, too.
This is the opposite of what the marathon is all about: a day of friendly sportsmanship for runners, who work so hard at something they love, and their friends and families. It’s the opposite of what all those international flags waving in the breeze near the targeted finish line represent: a world where nations and people can live and compete peacefully.
One savage act was able to shatter all that goodness. It’s a reminder for Americans, as if any were needed, that there are still forces of evil and darkness in the world and in our midsts.
And it’s a particularly deeply felt tragedy for the Capital Region, which has a strong running community and many residents with family, friends, school or other ties to Boston.