I was out of town this weekend, up in Maine, like I usually am on Patriot's Day. I used to go to the Red Sox game every year, back before they sold out every game, but haven't done that in years - the money and the hassle of getting tickets overwhelmed the fun of the game and the event, and once I stopped going to the games, I had no desire to be anywhere near the crowds.... So - I usually take advantage of the long weekend, go out of town, celebrate the weekend with the rest of the family.... So I heard about the bombing when someone sent an IM - then I got a couple calls, saw things come up on Facebook... and watched the news in shock. It felt surreal - to see all this happening on TV, in places I walk through every day. The sugar heaven store blown half to pieces... it was very hard to wrap my head around.
Today, the building where I work opened again. Yesterday I came back home - I had the day off anyway, but the block where I work was still closed anyway - so my brother and I went to Redbones and I waited to find out whether the company was open again today. They were. So off I went. It's a very strange sight - we're more or less on the edge of the area still sealed off - the cops had possession on one side, the media, and various onlookers held the line, watching down Boylston street for something to happen. There was another media encampment at the edge of the Public Garden, blocking the foot paths through the garden. Cops directing traffic, national guardsmen on duty here and there. People coming to see, to pay homage, carrying flowers - and people like me, going to work, trying to figure out what was going to be happening in our neighborhood. Once I got into work, I suppose things went back to normal, more or less - though you could look out the window and see cops and bomb-sniffing dogs and sight-seers and TV trucks and crews and cameras. And everyone kept checking the net for news. Rumors are flying around - everyone has a theory - I guess it's all pretty hard to avoid.
And in the background, those damned poisoned letters - though I see someone has been arrested there. Whether this has anything to do with the Patriot's Day bombing, it makes an odd repetition of what happened after 9/11 - the anthrax letters were, I think, almost more disturbing than the initial attacks. They couldn't match the carnage and horror of the attacks, and these ricin letters can't match the carnage of what happened Monday, but the anthrax scare made it seem much more intimate - something that was going to continue, that would keep haunting us. It made it harder to isolate the attack, treat it as a discreet event, with specific actors - made the whole thing more diffuse....
All right. I don't have a lot to say about this. The evil of the attack is obvious enough, me saying it isn't going to change much. I don't want to try to guess or speculate on who did it or why - I don't want to play politics at least until we know what the politics are. I hope the cops catch the perpetrators - find them, arrest them, arraign them, indict them, try them, convict them, and lock them away - and do it clean, with strong consistent evidence - I don't want to watch a documentary in 20 years about how the cops got the wrong guy and the real killers got away.
Otherwise? I don't think there's much to say. It's not the kind of thing that really changes anything. I don't feel less safe than I did last Thursday, the last time I walked that way down Boylston street. This kind of mass murder attempt is rare - it's not going to be less rare in the future. It's not less rare now than in the past. Bombings have happened throughout our history - not a lot, not enough, most of the time, to do much more than check through your security measures, make sure you're covering the obvious stuff... then getting on with your life. I think. (Shootings are another matter - because they happen more often - because the mass shootings that get all the press are a tiny blip in the sea of violence and terror that results from guns in the country. Which is why this stuff is disgraceful - the NRA owns congress, and no one else, except a few rubes. If Sandy Hook can't convince republicans to vote for mostly symbolic, but still useful, gun regulations, then they have no souls.)
Enough. I don't have much to say about what happened Monday, except that once the cops open up the streets, I'll be walking by the site more or less every day. Shopping at stores and eating at restaurants and going into the library, across the street from where the bombs went off. It's going to be there, inescapably, in the corner of my eye, and the back of my mind, for the rest of my life, more or less.