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I Love That Dirty Water: Thoughts On Yesterday's Events

By TK | Think Pieces | April 16, 2013 | Comments ()


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First and foremost: Our thoughts and hopes and prayers to those struck by yesterday's tragic events.

A confession: At least once a week, I lament the excess of interconnectedness that exists in the modern era. Cell phones, Facebook, Twitter, god knows what else -- I'm in some way either directly or indirectly hooked into countless networks, and every now and then the misanthrope inside me realizes what a royal pain in the ass it is, and how annoying it can be and how aggravating my fellow humans sometimes are. At least once a week, I wish I could just shut the whole damn thing down.

"And as we stand in your driveway in fear,
the future and all that is near.
I still can't believe this. I am not a kid.
The beauty of youth is long gone, maturity has never seemed so wrong.
I miss innocence, I miss ignorance, I miss my backyard."

-CityCop, "Freebird Part II"

And then a thing like yesterday happens. And instead of becoming horrified at the human race and running for the hills, I end up taking it all back, because within minutes, I was able to let dozens of concerned people know that yes, I was OK, no, I wasn't anywhere near it. I tracked down my local family, and all was well. I reached out to my local friends, and each and every one of them was accounted for, safe as houses. My sister caught up with me with much more ease than those horrifying hours when I couldn't reach her on the day of 9/11 and she lived in New York City. My family overseas knew within minutes that all was well with me and mine. It's those moments when you realize that this level of connectivity is more than just being connected. It's not just connectivity, it's community. It was actually kind of wonderful. It's those moments where you realize that whatever the goal was, whatever the people who perpetrated such a terrible crime wanted -- they're not ever going to get it.

Boston is close to my heart. I've lived in or near this city for more than 20 years of my life. I love this city. I love the people, the food, the weather (sometimes. Not really. Occasionally. Shut up), the sports teams, the accents, the driving, the music, the harbor, the skyline, the whole shebang. I sometimes think that I love Boston a little too much, so much so that it makes it hard for me to contemplate ever leaving, much to the occasional chagrin of my warm weather-craving wife. But none of that really matters today. What matters today is that tragedy struck, and it struck hard.

As a result, I just figured I'd borrow Pajiba for a few minutes to give everyone an opportunity to talk about it, a place to let some off some steam. And I wanted to let everyone know that Boston, like every other city that has been struck by tragedy, will be OK. It'll be confusing and scary and painful and awful, but we're going to be OK. The truth is that despite our bluster and obnoxiousness, Boston is just like everywhere else. We get scared and we mourn and we dust ourselves off, we help the person next to us up and we keep going. This was a terrifying event, to be sure, but nothing even close to the horrors that happen daily around the world. But it's not a contest. In some ways, it helps to realize that this is another day in the life of a planet full of people, and despite the horror of that day, life will go on, despite some people's best efforts to the contrary. Yet again, instead of raging at the cruelty of it all, we can marvel at the capacity for human kindness, those who ran into the chaos to help, those who carried others to safety, those who offered their homes to others who simply needed a place to sleep.

The world is flooded with great quotes right now, from people who eloquently spoke of the beauty of humanity and how it sometimes shines brightest in these dark moments. Be it our President, Mr. Rogers, hell, even Patton Oswalt was amazingly eloquent. But the two quotes that stood out most in the aftermath of yesterday's events:

Arkady Hagopian, one of the runners in the Marathon, was quoted as saying, "Whoever did this is trying to break people's spirits, but it's not going to happen. It only brings people closer... I was on the fence, but now it's definite. I will sign up next year."

And one of my old high school friends remarked that, "I hope I remember this feeling, learning of tragedy in a place I know very well, next time I learn of tragedy in a place I've never been."

I can put it no better than they did. And since this is a website about movies, here are a few of my favorite Boston-centric movie scenes. Because that's what you do, right? In the wake of tragedy, you find comfort in the things that make you feel better, and movies are that thing, that common bond, that brought me and all of you here today. So that's what we'll go with. It's not much, but for now, for a few minutes, it's enough.


(apologies for the crappy quality)




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Comments Are Welcome, Jerks Will Be Banned


  • bleujayone

    I don't get it

    No really, I don't get it.

    What was the point? What did one hope to accomplish? How was this a tactic worthy of the effort to put it together? What grievance on any level would be alleviated or otherwise better addressed by going out and maiming and murdering parties completely innocent and unknown? And how likely do you think anyone will listen to it now that it's legitimacy has been tainted it with meaningless bloodshed?

    If one has a problem with the government or their policies, you take it up with them. Vote someone else into office, stage a protest rally, dig up evidence, film a documentary or if all else fails move away. And while I am by no means encouraging acts of terrorism against our military, let's see someone just try that same stunt towards a military installation or government building. At least they'd be facing people far better trained and equipped to confront them. And perhaps that's why this involved lashing out at the defenseless.

    I imagine this was done for the most obvious reason of all; it was the easiest way. Other methods take time, often a lot of it. Time is needed for the assemblage of other like-minded people and it is required for informing and persuasion regardless the cause. Despite those efforts, it never yields instantaneous gratification, if at all. This act by comparison requires very little involvement and offers the illusion of change disguised as mayhem and chaos that cannot be ignored.

    If the only goal here was simply to kill people, scare the hell out of the masses and otherwise break things, then I would guess our suspect list should probably include any number of one-dimensional comic book villains, otherwise we are looking at a person or group so delusional that they believe mindless acts such as this have any hope of accomplishing their goals. They have done nothing but guaranteed themselves to be remembered for being worthless and cowardly regardless of their perceived offense even by those who might have otherwise agreed with them. They don't truly want to change any injustice- no matter what they may come out and say in the days to come, but rather to angrily show that they too have the power to make people suffer needlessly. At this point whether those involved are ever made to be accountable or not, we cannot allow the actions of the few so easily dictate those of them many.

    To my family and friends back home in Massachusetts; We WILL get through this, we will not let some piece of garbage ruin our way of life and I promise you the Marathon you see next year will show the the world just what kind of town Boston is.

  • Miss Kate

    I fucking love Boston. I live in NYC, and have for many years. But Boston is my city of "firsts" and occupies very special real estate in my heart. I was born there. I have family there still. It was the first place I lived when I moved away to go to school (where I watched the marathon from my friends' Kenmore Sq apt). Growing up in Maine, it felt like the epicenter of the region. Boston is where my grandfather's parents stepped off the boat from Ireland.

    Would this tragedy hurt as much if I didn't know the place so well? Honestly, I hope so. We are all citizens of the world, what hurts a few of us hurts us all. All my love and prayers go out to the victims. And whoever did this? Seriously, FUCK that guy.

  • MissAmynae

    Beautifully written, TK. Thank you.

    Bless the first responders, and everyone who answered that primitive call to help their fellow human.

    There are some amazing effing people in this big ol' world, and this little Pajiban corner of it. Love and hugs to all y'all from Austin.

  • AngelenoEwok

    I keep trying to come up with a non-inane comment. My brain can't get past the "But I was JUST THERE," thoughts. I was so relieved when I found out that you and my other friends were alright, but then I thought of the gate agent who joked around with me at Logan, and the nice guy who rang up my turkey sandwich when I was on my way out of town. I keep thinking about how almost everyone I chit-chatted with on Thursday mentioned something about the three day weekend and their plans for the day. It's overwhelming.

  • Slash

    Eh, I have no words of inspiration, sorry. This just sucks. I saw a glimpse of a guy in a wheelchair yesterday (on the TV coverage, I live in Dallas) and I hope I didn't actually see what I thought I saw. It was terrible. No idea who the guy is or if he's (relatively) Ok now, despite not having legs anymore (if what I saw was real). I've been thinking about that guy since yesterday, can't put it out of my mind completely.

  • Jen L.

    Thanks for this great piece, TK. I've lived my whole life in or near Boston, and spent my childhood living on the marathon route itself. Whoever planted those bombs hijacked one of the best things Boston has, but, at the same time, despite the pain and carnage and horror, didn't totally succeed. I know how amazing Bostonians can be, but even I was shocked at the courage and kindness that was so obvious and so widespread immediately following the bombings.

  • NateMan

    Great point, and it's the important one, in my opinion. Whoever did this killed 3 people, injured over a hundred more, and lost. They didn't win at anything other than creating a painful spectacle. These people always lose. It's just a pity they're such slow learners.

  • Jen L.

    For me, it's what I can hold on to. It's what will make it out of this.

  • Palaeologos

    Btw, all my hopes to everyone in Boston, from Texas.

  • Tinkerville

    Boston is an incredible city. I lived there for five years during college and the year after. My sister lives there still and I talked to her Sunday night. She told me she was going to be at the finish line with her boyfriend cheering on her roommate who was running. When I first heard the news about twenty years were taken off my life wondering if she was near the blasts and if she was okay. Luckily she was, but about a dozen students from my alma mater were not and were hospitalized.

    It's hard to put into words how much my heart goes out to Boston right now, which feels silly and trivial to say since those are the exact words that are being posted on Twitter an Facebook every six seconds right now. I feel very fortunate that my family and friends there are safe and sound but I love that city, those people, and that marathon. Bostonians are tough as hell and I know they'll get through this.

  • Kate at June

    Boston was my home for a long time. Like PerpetualIntern, Boston was where I learned how to be happy and well. I have so many amazing memories of that city and there I made some of the closest and most important friendships I have ever known. Hoping everyone there is getting by today, my thoughts are all with that town.

  • Natalie

    I signed up to volunteer my home to those in need and that list is LONG. So many people opening their doors to strangers. It does make you feel better about humanity, even if they pay to see the latest transformers installment.
    There are lots of good people out there.
    That being said, i don't know what Kool-aid drinking group did this, or what they think they're protesting or fighting against, but it achieves nothing. And I can't even make sense of it. What kind of target is the marathon? Is this someone going postal? It's like the school shootings, you just can't make sense of it. All it does is make people miserable.

  • Pinky McLadybits

    For the longest time I would let things like this prevent me from going out into the world. I would sit at home, panicked and wringing my hands together until they were raw. I would make a mental note of where not to go and what events to avoid. But now? This cowardly bullshit some piece of trash has inflicted upon the city of Boston? It renews my resolve to visit the city where people turned toward a tragedy so they could help. It is now a city that I see as hopeful and filled with more good people than bad. So, Piece of Rat Shit Waste of Space that perpetrated this heinous act: fuck you.

  • InternetMagpie

    OMG, COME HERE THIS SUMMER and we will have fun! In your FACE, people who try to scare us!

  • Pinky McLadybits

    AWWWWW YEEEEAH I WILL!

  • ScrimmySCrim

    IF YOU VISIT BOSTON, YOU CAN ALSO VISIT SOME CRIMS.
    JUST SAYING!

  • Pinky McLadybits

    I KNOW! It's a badass town!

  • Aaron Schulz

    Patton Oswalts take on it is pretty awesome. Its all over facebook right now and easy to find. The reaction to this shows that the news and media etc. are the ones that make it seem like we live in a criminal hellhole, but seeing how people dealt with it moments after the explosion and since shows that humanity in general is, if not inherently good, at the very least inherently protective of each other.

  • Bill Patterson

    I wonder if you could be so positive and upbeat about the wonderfulness of
    human beings if your loved one had been maimed or killed by this
    senseless, evil act . What you're feeling is relief that you lost nothing.
    Comment after you suffer personal loss. This trivializes unspeakable
    tragedy.

  • frank247

    You, sir, are a dick.

    Congratulations.

  • InternetMagpie

    Tragedy isn't a competition.

  • Palaeologos

    Ditto for the pointlessness of disaster dick-sizing. I'm reminded of an old XKCD strip in which a character says that the worst-case scenario is always the one that's happening *right now*, since that's what people are actually dealing with.

  • I saw a lot of bravery in that video yesterday. Ordinary people, runners who had nearly finished a marathon and first responders all diving headlong into an unknown, dangerous situation, tearing down fencing because others NEEDED help. Luckily I had no one in that situation, but I am glad to know that there regular people out there whose first instinct would be to help myself and those I love rather than save themselves. I hope I find that kind of courage if I am faced with a similar situation.

  • This. In the face of something unspeakable, people were running toward it, not away. Opening their hearts and their homes to people trying to process something they never *should* have to process.

  • NateMan

    Everybody in the state feels it today. We mourn for the loss and are pissed at whoever is responsible. But the fact remains that it could have been worse for A LOT more people. Police, first responders, paramedics, and civilians pulled together to help one another out. You can bet the people who did lose loved ones, or who have been hurt by this violence, are grateful for what the city is trying to do for them.

    A person or a few people did a terrible thing. Hundreds and thousands more rose up to those hurt by this violence. Until we have a proper target for our wrath, I and many others would prefer to focus on helping the people left.

  • NynjaSquirrel

    Evil is subjective. As the US kills and maims innocents across the world, this could well be seen as justice by many of their loved ones. I'm not saying I'm one of them, and I abhor all violence against children, etc, but it's not hard to see an element of 'an eye for an eye' if this is the act of someone seeking retribution for despicable acts that took place far from the rosy-cheeked, apple-pie haven that the US likes to think it is.

  • Bert_McGurt

    And what if it's not a retaliatory act? What if it's some disturbed individual who chose bombs instead of an AR-15?

    I don't see what's to be gained at this point by speculating about the motives and nationality of the bomber and what it means in terms of "justice" when we don't know who they are or where they're from. Right now we know that three people are dead and dozens are injured, many severely, and that the perpetrator(s) is at large. We also know that thousands of people are doing everything they can to help the victims and find who's responsible. That's the appropriate focus right now.

    Issuing sweeping proclamations about American culpability is irrelevant and premature. Let's wait until we know who's at fault before we analyze their motive.

  • NateMan

    Evil is not subjective. Evil is evil. Violence purposefully directed against civilians no matter the goal, credo, or justification, remains evil. The United States has killed innocent people in attempts to get at criminals, it's true, and that's shameful and evil.

    We don't know what group was responsible for yesterday. Not yet. We don't know if it was foreigners or natives. We don't know if it was a religious or political attack, Left Wing or Right Wing. But what we do know is there were no criminal targets in Boston yesterday. And anyone who thinks a marathon is a worthy target for a political or religious statement of this appalling nature needs their ass kicked.

  • NynjaSquirrel

    I think my 'evil is subjective' isn't being understood how I'd hoped... and you're right about Boston as a target, in another comment I'd asked about the purpose of targetting Boston as opposed to some other more 'prominent' target. When I said evil is subjective - perhaps it should be that 'acts considered evil by one person could be considered justified by another'.

  • NateMan

    They could, and I understand your point. They'd still be wrong, however. Yes, war and drones and assassinations and all are terrible and sometimes evil. But I would hope that all cultures, all peoples, would understand the absolute evil in targeting a strictly civilian population for no measurable gain. When our nation kills innocent people - and it does, I don't deny that and it doesn't make me happy - there are goals. Typically the elimination of the kind of people who see marathons as juicy targets.

    Justifiable? I don't know. Probably not, when you get right down to it. But it's still on an entirely different level than this.

    And that's even assuming there was some sort of Islamo-fundamentalist goal here, which we don't know. Frankly, while my main wish is for this never to have happened, I'm hoping for the perpetrator to be entirely white-bread and homegrown. I'd like to avoid the racism and xenophobia we dealt with after 9/11.

  • NynjaSquirrel

    I'd agree with you there, and I did wonder whether it was some 'gun nut' trying to prove that banning automatic weapons is pointless cos you can just use a bag of fertiliser and a handful of ball-bearings to achieve the same goal...
    Either way, it's a fucked up situation - but can you see an end to it?

  • NateMan

    I have to. I'm raising a kid in it. I plan on taking her to the Boston Aquarium this summer, and I'm not gonna hold back on that because of the terrible things someone did.

    Oh, there will always be damaged and deranged people who think blowing up a bunch of innocent people will be the way to get their point across. But those people will always, always lose. All the death and destruction yesterday won't have made a point. And all we can do is hope is that lesson gradually sinks in.

    The country is (gradually, painfully) getting better. Violent crime is always dropping. Civil rights for various groups keeps getting better. Privacy issues and Freedom of Speech rights still have their flaws, but I don't think they're going away any time soon.

    The generation we're raising now will continue to have to be aware of terrorism, and issues like scarcity of natural resources will start to be more of a problem. But it can get better, and I genuinely think it will.

  • Captain D

    No, evil is not subjective. Evil is evil. It's no more forgivable when an act of violence against innocents happens on foreign soil rather than domestic.

  • NynjaSquirrel

    Oh - I know it's no more forgivable to anyone with a conscience but where's the outrage at the US killings of innocents around the world? With the death toll of children in Iraq to drones, etc it would be nightly news if it was as unforgiveable as we'd like to think it is.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    I'm just a gonna redact what I wrote here. It's not the time or place.

  • You should be directing this sort of bile to the bobbleheads on the news networks. They're far more deserving of your bullshit than TK, who lives in Boston and could have been there, is. Jesus Christ, there's one of you in every tragedy, dick-swinging about commentator credentials. "Oh, so-and-so, lost a toe, not a leg. HOW CAN THEY COMMENT ON THIS? THEIR TRAGEDY ISN'T AS BIG AS IT COULD'VE OR SHOULD'VE BEEN."

  • koko temur

    i weeped a little when reading your friends words. May you never get used to human cruelty to the point when you no longer shaken by it. My thoughts and some sort of atheastic prayer with you.

  • Wednesday

    When I was a teenager, I moved to the Middle East, and around the same time a Lebanese girl also enrolled in our school. This was the late '70s so Beirut was a war zone.

    She would tell stories of her life there and what shocked me the most was how casual she had become about tragedy. I knew right then that I lived a privileged life, not because I hadn't personally experienced tragedy, but because I hadn't come to expect it.

    Sadly, I think I am coming to expect it, and I haven't been truly shocked to my core since Oklahoma City, although Newtown was a very close second.

    My first thought was Patriots' Day/Tax Day-->Unhinged Tea Party Zealot even though there's zero evidence for such a thing yet. Does it say something about me that my gut reaction is to expect this to be an act of domestic terror, or does it say something about the state of the country?

  • abell

    To answer your question, yes and no. In my entirely amateur opinion, yes, I think assuming domestic terror is reasonable in this case. It seems too small scale to be a foreign operation. A couple of small bombs on one or two blocks of a single city doesn't sound like well funded terror. Again, amateur opinion.

    As to the Right Wing angle, that's your biases showing through. If it were at an IRS building, especially, or other government agency, then,it'd be more obvious, but, it's just as likely that the marathon was an easy target. Also, the past couple of years we haven't really seen right wing violence like that, though it still gets brought up each time we have a major attack. Loughner was an anarchist, Dorner's manifesto was all over the political map, praising Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in one breath, and GHW Bush in the next. (Not to mention, the cognitive dissonance of including a call for gun control in your manifesto before you go and start shooting people). Major Hasan seemed to be pretty clearly an Islamist. Cho, Holmes and Lanza all seemed to just be crazy. And, the Tea Party has never been tied to any sort of criminal activity. So, given recent history, I would say that assumption is unfounded and predicated on personal biases. Of course, I could be wrong, and this is the first of a different type of terrorist, but, there's no reason to think that yet.

  • koko temur

    i was honestly turn between getting all indignant about you forgetting that democrat senator getting gunned down by tea party extremests and "please, please, not today..." response. Can we pause this discussion for a few days?

  • abell

    The question was asked. So far in this thread, I've seen three posts guessing at right wing/gun nuts/tea partiers being responsible for no reason. I'd be happy to table the discussion, it's too soon. Actually, I think we have no idea, and shouldn't jump to any conclusions. I'd prefer that, but, if others want to have the conversation, I'm going to be a part of it.

    Also, are you referring to Rep. Giffords? Because, that was Loughner, the anarchist mentioned above.

  • koko temur

    i was in greece at the time of 9/11 and i swear, greeks first reaction? "must be the turks". Its.. Not always rational.

  • koko temur

    I garantee, no one *really* wants to have a discussion about it. Not today. People are confused and shocked and they indeed jump to conclusions. Its not fair, but here you go. All you can do is to be a bigger man.

  • delle

    I had a similar experience that also led me to really understand in my gut that I had lived a privileged life (despite being dirt poor for most of it) because I live in Canada.
    I was dating a fellow who had immigrated from Iraq as an adult, and we were out and about one day and there was a loud banging noise as a transport truck rattled across the bridge and my date started and paused for a moment, just a moment, then went along as normal. I had been watching him and noticed so I asked him if he was easily startled. He was so accustomed to having that reaction to loud noises that when I asked he had a blank moment because as quickly as that he had forgotten that it had happened. He then explained that where he had grown up and lived, loud noises were regularly caused by bombs/gunfire, and that when he hears a loud noise he has a moment of "Danger?...oh, wait..no danger....Canada".
    It really struck me then how hard it is to imagine living in constant danger, where every loud noise you hear could be sign of a threat.
    Your comment that we as North Americans do not expect tragedy as those who grew up in war zones do is emphasised for me by the fact that the few accounts I have read of the Boston Marathon tragedy have all had witness accounts stating how so many people there were unable to fully understand what was happening, even having been close enough to hear/see the explosion. It is not our instinct to hear a loud noise and immediately expect tragedy...a fact that makes me grateful for the privileged life I have led, and heartsore for all the people who have been forced to become accustomed to tragedy.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    No, I think the fact that no one has jumped up to claim it so far has most people thinking that it's domestic terrorism, rather than jihad or something along those lines.

    I was in France for 9/11, and after a few weeks of travel I ran into a Brit who said something along the lines of "now the US can join the club - we've had to worry about random bombings for ever." I wanted to reach across the table and punch him, but he was right in a way. We've had our bombings, but we put things like OK City behind us - 9/11 was something we couldn't. And because of 9/11, and because we've been so focused on gun violence rather than terrorism, this one is going to stick with us for quite a while.

  • koko temur

    I lived in the middle east for 22 years. Tragedy changes you. Not even personal one, just living in attmospere of constant possibility of one. I was 17 when 9/11 happened. I rember many things about that day, but the thing that nags at me the most was the secret thought of "well at least usa will know how it feels now when they judge us". I feel ashamed of this now, and while the change the lifetime of tragedy and fear is still well rooted in me, i find solace in the fact that when i hear of these kind of horrors nowdays, i feel only pure sadeness and symphathy. We all are capable to heal. And boston would too.

    While the question you pose is rhetorical, i want to offer an opinion, if i may. It say nothing about you besides you being human. Nothing at all.

  • NynjaSquirrel

    One thing I found interesting/worrying was that a Saudi male is undergoing police questioning after he was tackled to the ground after being injured in the blast, by a 'bystander who thought he was behaving oddly'. I hope it wasn't simply a 'omg, he's foreign-looking, grab him' reaction, as I fear the US could become even more paranoid than it is after 9/11.

  • koko temur

    frankly, i would be personally much more worried about a guy who were injured in the blast and wasnt behaving somewhat oddly.

  • PerpetualIntern

    I'll repeat what I wrote on FB yesterday, after hours of trying to find words. I'm still deeply sad this morning, but as the shock has worn off I'm reminded of how tough Boston is. I know it, I've seen it, I've lived it. I live in DC now, but Boston will always be my town.

    Boston was my home, Boston picked me up after one of the toughest years of my life. It dusted me off, gave me a smack, and convinced me I could keep on going. In Boston, life got good again. Life will get good again, Boston.

  • Rochelle

    I like what your friend said. It is sometimes hard to remember that my far away is someone else's neighborhood.

  • lowercase_see

    I haven't quite found the words for any of this yet. It was only a stroke of luck my little sister wasn't in Copley Square yesterday—her senior year of college, and she left the party early to go back to her dorm. I was sick for the half hour it took to get in touch with her and then sick knowing that there were 130 families who couldn't take the deep, relieved breath I could.

    A marathon is something pure. There's no greed and there's very little glory. It's hours of pain and exhaustion in return for only a sense of personal accomplishment. 23,000 people poured everything they had out on that course and thousands more on courses just like it every weekend. Runners are some of the kindest and most selfless people you will ever meet. They're there for each other and they're there for total strangers. Their spirits will not be broken by this. The Boston Marathon will be back, with more love and support than ever.

    Thank you, for providing this space. I just finished a marathon on Sunday, down here in Texas, and every aching muscle makes my heart weep for Boston. Qualifying for that race used to be a pipe dream, now it's a must. I've been a little screwy, on account of exhaustion, so I'm not fully processing yet, but this feels like it hits way too close to home.

    They fucked with the wrong people. Runners are fast, and they don't give up.

  • NateMan

    Boston kicks ass. Massholes gather together to take care of one another and the people around them. It's a terrible tragedy, but one that could have been worse, and the spirit of the city and the marathon will survive.

    We are the Knights of Bostonia.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

  • $27019454

    Been to Boston only to run that marathon and despite the pain and agony of that last few miles, I was in AWE of how that town turns the fuck OUT to welcome runners. On a beautiful spring day it is GORGEOUS and the smiling faces along every mile make it all the more so. I am heartbroken for the people of Boston.

  • kirbyjay

    I drive a baggage bus for the marathon every year and was 2 blocks away. It is a joyous and fun event and I love doing it every year. I'm so sad for the victims and so angry that this wonderful tradition has been marred. I will be there next year in my usual spot cheering on the runners and saying a prayer in remembrance.

  • NynjaSquirrel

    One of the things I'm curious about too is 'why Boston?' From an outsider's perspective it doesn't have the profile of the World Trade Centre, or the heart of London - or is that perhaps the point - that it's a 'this can hit you anywhere, any time, any event' type of message being delivered?

  • DeltaJuliet

    The Boston marathon is a pretty significant and historical sporting event. It's not the Super Bowl, or the World Series, but it's a big deal around here. There's always a huge crowd, so therefore lots of potential victims for some psycho.

  • NateMan

    Citizens from almost 100 countries were running the marathon yesterday. It was Tax Day. It was Patriot's Day, a state holiday remembering the first battles of the American Revolution. It was a crowd of tens of thousands and a happy event that brings every social class and any number of cultures together.

    There are any number of reasons it made a fantastic target.

  • Fabius_Maximus

    Wasn't it also the anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing?

  • NateMan

    Yes, and a number of other tragedies.

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/the...

  • Sara_Tonin00

    Tea Party springs to mind too, unfortunately.

  • NynjaSquirrel

    Ahh, thanks for that. I suppose Patriot's Day would make for quite a memorable date then.

  • This was a wonderfully personal reflection on a great tragedy, TK. Thanks.

    I think Patton Oswalt's words were almost miraculously phrased too. One should never forget the great positive potential that exists within the human
    multitude. My thoughts are with all of Boston today.

    It may seem like a perverse flip-side, but I think this is worth considering
    too - you and I and most of us on Pajiba are lucky enough to live in parts of
    the world where an event like this shocks us terribly. It shakes us to the core
    every time and we can scarcely believe that something like this could happen on our doorsteps - so close to our families and everything we hold dear. Yet I say we should consider ourselves lucky because in too many parts of the world this is a day-to-day worry. The terrible shadow of events like this hangs nonstop over peoples' lives. This is simply not an acceptable situation for humanity to live in. In an ideal world every breath should be taken in an effort to lessen this kind of suffering; and I mean lessen it worldwide, because a tragedy that strikes my brothers and sisters halfway across the globe strikes me too.

    Unfortunately, too many times our governments pursue policies that increase
    this kind of behaviour. We shouldn't give them such an easy ride. These poor
    souls who just went to take part in a marathon - such a wonderful affirmation
    of the human spirit - suddenly came face to face with a reality that no-one
    should ever have to come face to face with. So forgive me when I say that
    Obama's words leave somewhat of a sour taste in my mouth, because blood begets blood, and rarely is it the blood of those who actually cause the suffering.

    The blood of Bostonians or New Yorkers or Londoners is no different to the
    blood that is spilled on desert sands and under exotic trees. So when Obama
    speaks of crime and injustice he should remember that causing such suffering
    elsewhere in the world every other day, on a greater scale, is no way to honour
    the victims of this kind of attack. Just while he was giving his speech a
    number of people around the world became victims of our own governments’
    policies. Circling back to Oswalt’s point, none of this should happen anywhere;
    it’s an aberration that defiles the human spirit.

    Nonetheless, at the risk of making a political point out of this, I’ll stop here and reiterate that my thoughts are with Boston and all those affected.

  • Fabius_Maximus

    While I agree in general, there are two counterpoints I'd like to make:

    1. It isn't known yet who is responsible. Arguing against US foreign policy in relation to this attack is premature.

    2. As a powerful politician, you'll never make everyone happy. Whatever you do, there always will be nutters out there who are able and willing to blow up people just to make a point.

  • Agree with both your points. Though perhaps I should clarify one thing I was trying to say - specifically in relation to your second point: it is us - or rather our governments - who are often the nutters. Furthermore they use violence on a scale that those we deem as 'terrorists' could only fathom in their wettest wet dreams, and they use it indiscriminately and to make points that are similarly unjustifiable.
    Basically: fuck all the cunts who think that killing's a thing that should exist. Fuck right off.

  • Whatever4

    This. Thank you for putting it so eloquently.

  • TheEmpress

    I wonder if people who've never been in Boston for the marathon realize what a truly unique and wonderful atmosphere it is. Marathon Monday is by far the best day of the year, it's a party all day long. As someone who went to Boston College, right near the 21st mile, I'm so sad that's been compromised by terrorism forevermore, whoever is responsible.

    On another note, as someone who's run a marathon, I can't imagine the disappointment and bitterness that must be mixed in with the horror and fear of the runners who trained for months only to be stopped at the 25th mile for the worst reason imaginable.

  • MikeRoorda

    I'm a journalist, living and working nearby. When I got word of the bombings I was immediately sent to cover the events. I interviewed a few women who were running together. They had gotten separated and were nearing the end when things went to hell. They both said their only concern was finding each other. They met up at mile 24, where they were finally told "The race is over, there's been an attack." At that point they weren't concerned about finishing, just staying safe and out if harm's way.

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