I recall a moment watching the world trade center towers falling and thinking "50,000 dead". That was my mental calculation of the number of lost souls on that horrible day based on a quick web search of the occupancy of the buildings and the timing of the attacks and subsequent collapses. And so when the lost and missing were finally tallied, and the number was well below 10% of that, there was a part of me that was kind of relieved.
I feel a little bit that way about Boston right now. It could have been worse, much worse. Not to say that the deaths are not tragic, that the injuries, so like those experienced by US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan are not horrific. But the scent of a greater tragedy averted are in the air. A person of interest was reportedly stopped at a security checkpoint, perhaps attempting to get a bomb into a more densely packed and damaging area. A Penske rental truck was turned away at a checkpoint - part of the plot or not, the security was doing its job. And the choice of targets was about as densely packed with first responders, with police and EMS waiting for the finishing runners armed with supplies, wheelchairs, and stretchers, as one could image.
I've never lived in Boston, but it is my "home town" as much as anyplace - I did the morning Red Sox game / marathon thing once in high school, I've gone to games, gone clubbing, done the tourism thing, visited yoga studios in the neighborhood of the bombing. I've worked right downtown doing freelance work, I've got friends who live in the city.
It's time to sit back and wait. The crime scene folks will find stuff - surveillance video, spectator photos and videos, pieces of the bombs exploded or no. The threads of a narrative will come together in this social media and security conscious age, and we'll know the story soon enough.
I am most disturbed by the "you messed with the wrong city" meme, knowing how easily such righteous anger can translate into jingoism, bullying, racism, xenophobia.
Remember that time we went to war with a country that had nothing to do with the terrorism attacks on our country, based on anger, stupidity and manipulation? Remember how much that war has cost us in lives, in treasure, in reputation?
Yeah, me too. Today, especially.