I lived in the Boston area for 18 years. The Marathon was something that i accepted as part of what it meant to live in Boston, though i was not moved by it. But it was comfortable.
I could not believe it this afternoon when i heard about the bombing. Like many other people i went through immediate denial. I did not want to believe that it actually had happened. Someone had to have made a mistake, i thought. But then there was no denying it.
I was amazed by the first responders. It was not just the official responders, but civilians in the area who came to the aid of those injured. Bostonians can and will come through in a crisis. I have seen it before, and we will probably be forced to see it again.
Yet i found myself thinking that we in the USA believe that these terrorist actions are either new or exceptional, at least for us in this country. We have, of course, heard about state-sponsored or non-state actor terrorism overseas. The Rwanda genocide; Israeli attacks on Gaza; the list goes on. We, in the USA, are always stunned, however, when it happens to us because we believe that somehow we are an exception to this madness. We are not.
But it is also important to remember that there is a long history of homegrown terrorism in the USA. I am not talking about those who have become jihaddists. I am thinking more about the Ku Klux Klan, or Aryan Nation, or Black Guard. The terror that groups like these perpetrated over years was often ignored in large parts of mainstream USA but was central to the experiences of those of us of color and those of us who chose different political directions.
We do not know who was behind the Marathon bombings. It could have been someone completely insane. It might have been motivated by domestic or international political matters. In any case it was carried out by a sociopath and has, at least as of this moment, killed at least three people, wounded dozens, and destroyed the lives of probably hundreds of people.
The Boston Marathon will never be the same. Boston will never be the same. And today we share so much in common with victims around the world of state-sponsored terrorism and the actions of terrorist groups who have decided that there is a percentage in killing civilians, as reprehensible as most of us may find it.
My heart is with the families of the dead and wounded, and hoping for a speedy recovery of the wounded.
i also hope for the capture of the criminals who carried out this 2013 Boston massacre. May they never again see the light of day.