Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Boston Marathon Bombing

Time's a funny thing… it can go so slowly and so quickly at the same time. On one hand it's hard to believe that it's already been over a week since the Boston Marathon bombing, but on the other hand so much as happened that it seems like much longer. I decided to make this post to document just what happened so that I can remember since this is being called the biggest terror attack since 9/11.

Last Monday I was working on my computer when "breaking news" interrupted normal TV just after 2 PM announcing that there had been two explosions near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. At this point it wasn't clear what had caused the explosions. Was it an accident or an intentional act of violence? About an hour later reports confirmed that the explosions were bombs.

Modern technology allows for remarkable things to be captured on film these days. It was interesting to watch the footage of the explosions to see things as they really happened and not have to try to imagine how bad things really were. It would've been so frightening to be there… one minute you're enjoying the marathon as a runner or spectator, and the next minute you're surrounded by utter chaos.

Here are some pictures of the explosions as they happened:
Here are pictures of the pandemonium that ensued after the explosions: I'm glad that help wasn't too far away and that police/ambulances were able to respond so quickly since the people closest the bombs were hurt very badly.
Viewer discretion is advised since some of these next pictures are quite graphic. Even though they are gruesome I think it's important to see them to get a sense of what happened to the victims since this is now part of our country's history. I love how these pictures shows people serving others. They didn't think twice, they just saw a need and did what they could to aid/comfort others… even perfect strangers.
I think tragedies like this really put life into perspective and help you realize what's truly important. I love how it renews your sense of patriotism. It's easy to get wrapped up in superficial things, so as awful as catastrophes like this are, I think they help you count your blessings and appreciate what you have.
The bombs (which were pressure cookers filled with metal shrapnel) were hidden inside backpacks and strategically placed near the marathon finish line. Just knowing that the pressure cookers were filled with BBs and ball bearings just shows that they were intended to cause as much harm as possible. Three people were killed in the bombing and more than 170 people were injured (many of the victims lost limbs).

Here are pictures of the victims; eight-year-old Martin Richard, 29-year-old Krystle Campbell and 23-year-old Lü Lingzi:
I think the two biggest questions on everyone's mind the night of the bombing were WHO was responsible and WHAT was their motivation behind the vicious attack. The police started investigating things right away. They even enlisted the help of the public and asked anyone who had pictures/videos to turn them in so that the police could scrutinize them to see if they held any the answers as to who was responsible for the attack. "Crowdsourcing" is the practice of enlisting the public's help to obtain needed information. (This is a new term I've learned in the past week.)

Modern technology is truly amazing. The police analyzed thousands of pictures/videos, and in just a day or two they zeroed in on these suspicious looking young men. After the pictures were televised the police tip lines were flooded with calls from people who thought they knew who the young men were.

The suspects were identified as 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev, two brothers from Chechnya, and a major manhunt was on to find them. The nearby towns of  Watertown and Cambridge (two suburbs of Boston) were put on "lockdown" since the suspects at large were armed and dangerous. Schools were canceled, businesses were closed, public transportation was shut down and people were told to lock their doors and to only open for the police.
On Thursday evening I heard more breaking news that there had been a shooting at MIT and 26-year-old police officer Sean Collier had been shot several times and killed. When I woke up on Friday morning my mom told me that the brothers had carjacked someone after the MIT shooting and were then involved in a firefight with police. The older brother was killed, but the younger brother got away, so the manhunt continued.

I found last week's events strangely exciting in a macabre way. (Macabre is a word that I learned a few years ago from a book. I don't think I've ever used it before, but it fits this situation.) My mom and I had somewhere to be several hours during the day last Friday, so I reluctantly peeled myself away from the TV. As much as I wanted Dzhokhar caught, I didn't want to miss out on any of the action and hoped I  would be near a TV if anything exciting happened. I was tuned in to the TV all afternoon/evening and was very excited when the news broke that Dzhokhar had been captured by the police.

(After the residents in Watertown were told that they were no longer on "lockdown" a man went out to his backyard to check on his prized boat. When he peeled back the tarp he found Dzhokhar hiding inside. He called the police and when they got there  they used flash grenades to coax Dzhokhar out of the boat. They were successful and were able to take Dzhokhar alive. He had some serious injuries, but will survive.)

People were in disbelief when they found out that Dzhokhar was involved in the bombing. They interviewed lots of his former classmates and they all said what a nice guy he was. It's not like he was a socially inept loner like so many who do things like this are. When the brothers' family members found out that they were allegedly responsible for the attack they said that it couldn't be true because they weren't capable of doing something like this. They said the boys must've been framed. I can understand why they were in disbelief because I wouldn't want to believe that one of my family members could do something like that, either. I think they'll eventually have to resign themselves to the fact that Dzhokhar and Tamerlan are the ones responsible for the bombing.

There still aren't any conclusive answers as to what the brothers' motive was, but on the news this morning they reported that Dzhokhar confessed to the bombings and said that he and his brother were "protecting Islam." Apparently the brothers are Muslim and the older brother is an extremist with radical ideas. My mom and I have a theory that the older brother was the mastermind behind the attack and he convinced his younger brother to go along with it. (Of course this is just our speculation.)

When the manhunt was on I didn't think there was much of a chance that either suspect would be taken alive, although I hoped there would be. I know that both brothers will ultimately be punished by God in the next life, but there's something slightly dissatisfying when criminals aren't brought to justice. I'm glad that Dzhokhar is still alive and it will definitely be interesting to see what else comes to light in the next few days/weeks.


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