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Opinion Northwest

Join the informed writers of The Times' editorial board in lively discussions at our blog, Opinion Northwest.

April 15, 2013 at 3:15 PM

Boston Marathon explosions require a different kind of endurance

 
 
People flee from what was described as twin explosions at the finish line of the Boston Marathon (Photo/WBZTV)

People flee from what was described as twin explosions at the finish line of the Boston Marathon
(Photo by WBZTV)

Update: Tues., 9:00 a.m] President Obama’s frequent addresses to the nation are helping ease fears in the aftermath of Monday’s twin explosions in Boston. For the second time in less than 24 hours, the president  took to the airwaves, this time to announce that authorities are investigating the blasts as “acts of terrorism.” Whether the work of domestic or foreign terrorists remains unknown

Update:

President Obama spoke to the nation later Monday, cautioning Americans to wait for answers:  “We still do not know who did this or why.  And people shouldn’t jump to conclusions before we have all the facts.”

Obama, perhaps tuning into a nation’s gnawing anxiety, added: “But make no mistake – we will get to the bottom of this.  And we will find out who did this; we’ll find out why they did this.  Any responsible individuals, any responsible groups will feel the full weight of justice.”

Earlier:

The explosions disrupting the 2013 Boston Marathon were horrific, and the horror continues as news reports come in of horrible injuries, including multiple amputations.

The blasts went off about four hours after the men’s race started; thousands of runners were still finishing the race. The epicenter of the blasts was the finish line. Someone, or something, had a cruel sense of timing. The blasts sent fireballs and plumes of smoke engulfing runners using up their last bit of endorphins to finish the race.

Answers are desperately being sought as we urge each other to refrain from speculation, even about whether the blast came from a bomb or something else. Boston Police and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosions are just beginning their work. Was the explosion was an act of terrorism, either from sources outside of the U.S. or within? Or was the cause was something more mundane: a gas pipe explosion.

A part of the race had been dedicated to the shooting victims of Newtown, Conn. Someone should now dedicate a future endeavor to the Boston Marathon victims.

What a horrible ending to what had been expected to be a great day for the 27,000 or so Boston marathoners representing 96 countries.  This race is one of the premier events in the running world. Athletes have to qualify for entrance. Now we pray they live to run, walk, or smile another day.

In tragic events such as this one, social media shrinks the world, quickly becoming a virtual bulletin board to search for loved ones or assure those searching for you.  #PrayforBoston quickly began trending Twitter. The tech savvy plugged into geolocators to track loved ones. Marathon officials tracked runners by their bib number or other identification here.   The New York Times offered a frightening sense of scope: The blasts occurred while thousands of runners were still finishing the race. The Atlantic magazine published a compelling timeline across social media.

Injured man at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon  (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Injured man at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon
(Photo by Charles Krupa / AP)

The public’s initial shock soon gave way to grim action. Boston news reports showed runners who kept running all the way to hospital emergency rooms to give blood. People took to Twitter to help police spread the word about avoiding the streets around the explosion so rescue crews and police would not have to contend with traffic.

President Obama was briefed on the Boston explosions by Homeland Security adviser Lisa Monaco in the Oval Office.  The president called Boston Mayor Tom Menino and Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick to express his concern for those who were injured and to offer support.  Meanwhile #PrayforBoston

Comments | Topics: boston marathon

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