One mile. Five thousand, two hundred eighty feet. That’s how far the Boston Marathon bombers lived from my sister’s apartment.
One mile. That’s less than I used to walk to school every day.
Needless to say, I didn’t do much today other than watch the news coverage from Watertown. I know I’m not alone. While Boston was physically locked down, I feel like most of the country figuratively shut down today, glued to televisions, radios, and the internet.
I walked in from the bowling alley around 1:00 this morning. I had heard about the murder of a police officer at MIT and, like everyone else, wondered if things could get any worse for Boston. However, by the time I got home and turned on the news, it was becoming clear that there was more to it.
Kudos to the local news broadcasts in Boston; they were far ahead of the national news outlets in breaking just about every detail of the story. Negative kudos, however, to rushing to judgment; for most of the overnight period, many people believed that a missing Brown University student was one of the bombers. Obviously, that is not the case.
I finally went to bed around 5:00 a.m. I figured I should grab a nap before work, you know?
Thankfully, one of them was captured alive. He may not give us any information, but just having the opportunity to question him and run him through the justice system is important. All of the “they should have unloaded their clips into the guy” rhetoric is disturbing to me; we sit here and talk about how these guys attacked America and how we wont stand for it, and now you want to completely forgo a fundamental tenet of our republic out of anger? I understand the feeling, but it doesn’t, and shouldn’t, work that way. Justice is always preferable to revenge. Some day, the guy in the white cap will be strapped to a table and given a lethal injection. He’ll get his. But for now, let’s prove that terrorism won’t work and that we will always be true to our principles.
Oh, and one more thing: stop the “USA! USA! USA!” chants. This young man is an American citizen. He’s been here for a decade. He’s fairly assimilated. Whether you like it or not, in a lot of ways, he’s one of us. You wouldn’t chant like that if a serial killer was apprehended; there’s no need to do it now just because this killer has foreign roots. It’s jingoistic at best, and borderline racist at worst.
At this point, I’ve slept for about four of the previous 40 hours. I always get wrapped up in major news stories, but like I wrote the other day, this one was close to home for me. I’m tired. Nowhere near as tired as the good folks of Massachusetts, but still.
While there’s a long way to go with this case, the scariest part is over. The relief is palpable. The boat jokes are rolling out at a pretty good clip. For the first time in five days, Boston, and to some extent the rest of the country, can breathe again. We will honor our dead and bring one of their killers to justice. Life will go on, almost the same as it did before Monday’s attack.
Almost, but not quite. Fortunately, we can finally let the healing begin.