The horrific bombings at the Boston Marathon Monday have left a stunned public desperate for explanations.
It’s a way to cope. If we know why it happened, we can do something about it. We want to regain some of the control we lost when one explosion occurred and then another, exploding the prevailing theme of human strength and perseverance as men and women push themselves to the limit to run 26.2 miles.
We want to know who is responsible and whether this was a 9/11-like act of terrorism.
As of last evening, there were far more questions than answers. Yes, it was an act of terrorism — domestic or international; by a monster or a lunatic; to make a political statement or just to cruelly maim people who came from all over the world to compete.
Yes, it was tax day. Yes, it was Patriot’s Day, which commemorates the Revolutionary War battles of Lexington and Concord. But were those somehow a pretext for the grisly attacks? We don’t know.
Sadly, some have already turned the disaster into a partisan issue.
Nicholas Kristof, a New York Times columnist, wrote in a tweet that the explosion “is a reminder that ATF needs a director. Shame on Senate Republicans for blocking apptment.”
He retracted the comment after receiving wide, blistering criticism for the potshot.
Already, Charleston City Councilman Mike Seekings, who missed the marathon because of an injury, has said that “we’re going to have to re-think the bridge run,” which attracts twice as many participants as the Boston Marathon.
The Charleston and Mount Pleasant police chiefs both say they already are on alert for problems. They use bomb-sniffing dogs and execute extensive screenings.
If there are lessons to learn from the Boston Marathon bombings, the Lowcountry should take heed. But it’s too soon to know what those lessons might be.
We’re not good at patience — especially in the media where our mission is to get information to the public accurately — and quickly. And the public expects to turn on the computer and get answers. Immediately.
President Obama has pledged federal assistance to officials in Boston investigating the horror, and has promised that “responsible groups will feel the full weight of justice.”
Until the smoke clears, however, and the truth emerges, we’re left to comfort those we can and to pray for those we can’t.