A Rough Week in Boston

Boston Marathon Explosions
Photo by Aaron Tang, used under Creative Commons
Pretty much the whole world is aware of what happened in Boston this past week. It began with a bomb going off in Boston and ended with a manhunt that involved multiple shootouts and the entire area shut down.

I've lived in the MetroWest suburbs of Boston since 1996, living about 30 miles away from the city itself. Being born in New York City I have to be honest that my sports allegiances remain those of my youth - the Mets, Giants, and Knicks. Yet my wife and I have grown to love the city and its surrounding area. (And I was most definitely rooting for the Red Sox to beat the Yankees in 2004.) Being a history buff, especially that of the American Revolution and early national period, I love the fact that Massachusetts celebrates Patriots' Day, commemorating the start of the American Revolution with the Battles of Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775.

Part of the celebration of Patriots' Day is the running of the Boston Marathon. It is difficult to describe the importance of the Marathon to those outside the area - it's just a day of general goodwill, when we welcome and cheer on people from all over the country and the world. I work in Hopkinton, the town where the Marathon starts. One of the women killed in the bombing was 29 year-old Krystle Campbell who had been cheering on the runners annually since she was a little girl. And that's the kind of story that just fits in with the day - this really is our holiday. We're one of the few states in the nation to celebrate Patriots' Day and I suspect that it is by far most important to us.

So to have that day defiled with the blood of innocent participants and spectators is especially painful. It's not that this wouldn't hurt on any day, but it happening on Patriots' Day at the end of the Marathon just rubbed salt into the wound.

When I went to bed Thursday night I was reading of a shooting of an MIT police officer. At the time it was believed to be unrelated to the Marathon bombs. When I awoke this morning I found at that that was a mistaken belief. The morning saw a firefight in Watertown, with one of the suspects dead and another shot police officer. It seemed like something out of the novels and RPGs I often talk about in this blog.  And the day saw the surreal sight of normally crowded streets in the Boston-area totally empty as state and federal law enforcement worked to find the remaining suspect. My brother, his wife, and their daughter lived in Watertown for several years, providing another jolt.

Thankfully, the surviving suspect was captured with no additional loss of life. And I found myself proud of my home's reaction - it was a homeowner who discovered suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev hiding in his boat, The way the various law enforcement groups and civilian populace worked together was inspiring. We faced great adversity but did not give into fear. But while I am thankful and inspired, I also find myself mourning those we lost and those who were injured.

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