I write this not only as a Bostonian and a marathoner, but simply as a human being, as upset as any other by the prevalence of hatred and cruelty in our world. And for you, the coward(s) that did this, I have a few thoughts.
The Boston Marathon represents humans striving for, and achieving, excellence. It represents greatness: greatness in athleticism, greatness in camaraderie, and greatness in tradition. It is no accident that it is held on Patriot’s Day, a holiday that commemorates the first battles of the American Revolution. Marathon Monday is a celebration of the strength and perseverance of a nation, mirrored in the strength and perseverance of athletes. But in targeting the Boston Marathon, you not only attacked Bostonians and the American people. By targeting one of the world’s most prestigious sporting events, you attacked the entire international community. Mothers of marathoners in Kenya are every bit as worried as relatives of participants who live in South Carolina. If your goal was to target the American family, consider yourself the worst kind of overachiever. You targeted the entire global community.
And what about the Newtown families seated at the finish line? Tell me about them. Did you know they would be there? Did you agree that the 26 deaths at Sandy Hook should be honored by the 26 miles of one of the world’s most famous marathons? Have they not been through enough? The grandparents, parents and siblings of the Newtown victims have survived one of life’s greatest traumas — burying a viciously murdered grandchild, son, daughter or sibling — and at an event dedicated to honoring their courage, you detonated bombs that would ruthlessly kill a beautiful eight-year-old and injure at least eight other children. Dante’s Inferno would say that your particular hell involves staring into that eight-year-old’s innocent eyes everywhere you turn. I would agree.
This country was traumatized eleven and a half years ago (as well as many times before and after) — albeit on a larger scale — and has been living with post-traumatic stress ever since. Maybe this time we were informed by Twitter instead of the loudspeakers in our fifth-grade classrooms, but the feelings of terror were altogether too similar. We know what it’s like to get calls from panic-stricken friends asking us if our families are okay. We know what it’s like to turn on the TV thinking we’d stumbled on an explosion scene in an action movie before promptly discovering that real life can be just as disturbing. We’d hoped that this was an unwelcome flashback; a psychological trick — and we were wrong.
Well congratulations, you have succeeded in upsetting us. And if I know anything about this country and its leaders, you will pay.
But like I said before, it’s not just us. The Olympics in 1972. The Olympics in 1996. And now the Boston Marathon in 2013. When you attack an elite international sporting event, you don’t just attack the host country. You rip at the heartstrings of the entire world.
And right now, their thoughts are with Boston. Please, just let this be the end.