I’ve loved the marathon since back when I was in high school, back in the days when Bill Rogers was winning three straight and Joan Benoit Samuelson was a reasonably local hero. We would go up to Route 16 by the Newton firehouse, just before the marathon course turned onto Commonwealth Avenue and the beginning of the Heartbreak hills. That was around mile 17, and in those days the field had thinned about pretty well by that time. The race used to start at noon, and you knew the runners came through there around 1:20 or so, the wheelchairs a little earlier.
Today is the anniversary of the Patriot’s Day bombing, which also happened on my birthday no less. And I’m now firmly in the camp — a camp that has start to have its voice a heard – that we’ve made way too much out of the whole terrorism angle, the whole Boston Strong campaign. For the people who lost loved ones or had a limb blown off, this was an immense personal tragedy. I feel nothing but compassion for those people. But the bombings didn’t do anything to the rest of us.
Since the bombings, about 40 people have been killed in Boston through gun violence.
Since the bombings, there have been about 340 traffic fatalities in Massachusetts.
Nobody writes about the loss of these people or celebrates their lives. We don’t even know their names.
I’ll be going to the Marathon today and I won’t be worried that I will be harmed in any way. I will lend my voice to the runners, whose determination I admire, and hope to show my continued enthusiasm for the race.
This, to me, is another story about religious extremism and what it begets. Although few will want to admit it, the Tsarnaev brothers actually did have a point about one thing: there really are too many innocent muslims being killed by American drones and otherwise. But how they thought that blowing up an eight year old, a Chinese graduate student, and a young professional woman would further that debate is anybody’s guess.
I’m glad that Tamerlan is dead. He was a first-rate asswipe, by almost universal acclaim. The younger brother I feel sad for. He’s going to end the rest of his life in prison, like the Manson women who participated in the Tate-LaBianca murders, who spent the last years of their lives – a few of them are actually still living – trying feebly to explain how reasonably ordinary, intelligent, young women could have been led to engage in such atrocities. Eventually Dzhokhar will most likely understand the magnitude of his crime, the scale of his idiocy, but it will be much too late. He won’t be able to mend any of the severed limbs, ruptured eardrums or lost lives that he helped to steal.
Religious extremism is the culprit here. God, in whose name more atrocities have been committed than anyone can count. But let’s all ease up on the whole Boston Strong rhetoric a bit.