Monday, April 22, 2013

A Week Later

It's been a week since the bombing attack on the Boston marathon, and if there's one thing you can say about the week, it sure wasn't uneventful.  First there was the bombing itself, on Monday afternoon.  I was working about a mile and a half away, and for a while I wondered if I was going to be able to get home.

On Tuesday, there was an explosion at a fertilizer plant in Texas.  This is unrelated to the Boston bombing, and as far as anyone knows, accidental, but despite the intentional terror and destruction in Boston, more people were killed and injured, and more property destroyed, in Texas.

It was late Thursday afternoon when the police released the pictures of the two suspects in the Marathon bombing.  That night, I began to hear things about a gunman at MIT.  At first this seemed to be unrelated.  I went to bed knowing that a MIT police officer had been killed, but thinking that it was the result of an armed robbery at a convenience store gone bad.

I woke up on Friday to find the whole city shut down.  The public transportation wasn't running, my work was canceled, and residents were being told to shelter in place.  It seemed that the incident at MIT had turned out to be the bombing suspects after all (though it doesn't seem as though they had anything to do with the convenience store robbery).  After which, they hijacked a car, and fled to Watertown, where they got into a shootout with police, in which they used explosives (early reports said grenades, but I haven't heard confirmation on that). One of the brothers was killed, but one fled on foot, and the police were conducting a door-to-door search.

Shelter in place didn't necessarily mean stay home.  Many people were out and about when the order came down, and were trapped where they were all day.  In addition, people were evacuated from their homes as the police searched, and forced to stay with neighbors and friends. I wasn't in one of the places that received that order, but I couldn't get to work either, so I pretty much stayed home all day.

They finally lifted that order on Friday evening, and then they found the bomber about an hour later, when a vigilant citizen noticed him hiding in the boat in his backyard (leading a few to wonder how helpful that order was in the first place).

The bombers were identified as two Chechens, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.  Both were legal immigrants who'd been in the US for years, and Dzokhar is a US citizen, and a student at the University of Massachusetts.  Right now the evidence suggests that they've been becoming increasingly interested in a radical form of Islam for the past couple of years.  It remains to be seen whether they acted independently, or if they had support--whether in material or training--of any known terrorist groups.

I've been reciting this mostly from memory, and mostly because I want to write down my recollection of it as accurately as possible.  Some more information about the case, and where things stand now, can be found at Boston.com.

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