On the Marathon Bombing

Up late watching the news. The radio on all morning. Not much new. No one in custody yet, though there was at least one "person of interest" -- a Saudi national, sharing a temporary apartment on the waterfront in Revere, Mass., with two other Saudi nationals (the right wingers were having a field day). Videos of police carrying loaded trash bags out of the apartment house. I've been answering emails from friends around the country, in Brazil, and in Poland -- all checking to make sure I was safe.

I was safe. I've never gone to a Boston marathon. I usually turn on my television after it's over, to see who the winners are and whether they've broken any records. I'm a walker, not a runner.
Still, I'm heartbroken.

More people have lost their lives at stampedes at other sporting events in other parts of the world.

But I'm heartbroken about the eight-year-old boy killed returning to the stands after running into the street to greet his father who was crossing the finish line. For the new amputees, some of them runners. For the dancer who sustained critical leg injuries. For Boston.

It's heartbreaking.

My friend Gail Mazur, who grew up near the marathon route, used to watch the race with her father when she was a child, dispensing orange slices to the runners, to keep them hydrated. The marathon for her was an image of innocence, a kind of modern pastoral. It was sweet, a sweet public -- communal -- celebration.

Now that sweetness is embodied in the reports of first responders rushing -- not away from the blast but into it -- to help the victims (military vets knew how to help slow the bleeding; others were going to area hospitals to donate blood). In the Boston police (thinking about 9/11 and collapsing buildings?) encouraging the crowds to run in the opposite direction. In Boston's great medical teams, shocked, they tell the reporters, that these injuries are astonishing outside of a war zone. No one was anticipating this disaster, but they were all ready.

A reporter on the local news last night was remarking that unlike the response to 9/11, no one seemed to be crying. But everyone I've talked to has been in tears or close to them.

Or angry.

What cowards these perpetrators are. How dare they!

I'm sure there'll be another marathon next year. All those slower runners who were prevented from finishing this one, all those who still can, will want to complete what they started.
Next year I'll have my TV on before the race begins.