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The last seven days (which The Shad un-affectionately refers to as “death week”) was, as the cliché goes, a roller coaster of emotions. As we mark one week since the bombing that rocked the great city of Boston and its surroundings, this roller coaster is headed down once again. Feelings of sorrow and uncertainly now reign.
There is no need for me to recount the events from Patriots Day, the marathon, the murder of the three spectators and the maiming of many more, the initial identification of the suspects, the murder of the 26-year old MIT police officer, the wounding of a transit cop, the rolling gun battle through my town and into Watertown, the manhunt and finally the capture of the surviving suspect (his brother killed in the aforementioned gun battle).
All along there was a feeling of resiliency, determination and flat-out anger (I heard it suggested on talk radio that “we should drop this guy in the middle of Southie and see how that works out for him”). The first responders and law enforcement community shined. They were nothing short of spectacular. The president, governor, mayor, police chief and other officials performed brilliantly. The average Bostonian was “wicked pissed.”
After the capture of the younger of the sibling-suspects, there was an air of euphoria. We won, dirtbag. We’ll always win. Cops were cheered as they left Watertown. The residents also cheered a big truck that turned out to be Watertown Public Works. But no matter, spontaneous celebrations broke out at places such as Northeastern University where police were sent in for crowd control only to make the situation even more chaotic as revelers patted them on the backs, shook their hands and otherwise made the crowd-controllers part of the crowd. Take that, terrorists.
But now what? I have no desire (yet) to wade into the debate about whether Dzhokhar Tsarnaev should be held as an “enemy combatant” for the purpose of gaining intelligence or whether he didn’t need to be Mirandize under the “public safety exception.” I’ll leave that to others, for now.
I can only speak for myself but the whole ordeal is yet another event I’ll never forget. One can’t “get over” these senseless killings, one can only learn to deal with them. Learning Friday morning that I was in lockdown (see notice below), my mind started to race. In no way are the two events comparable in scale, but the thoughts I had after I witnessed 9-11 were back. It didn’t help that the suspects lived in my town, right down the road. Or that beautiful Memorial Drive that runs nearby, along the Charles River, was turned in the OK Corral.
I am left with a feeling of sadness that this entire tragic episode could happen at all and worse, the question of whether it could happen again. Now that the smoke has cleared, after the average conspiracy theorist, whose cheese fell off the cracker long ago, finally calms down, and all the cutesy and clever Facebook banners are posted, where do we go? I don’t want Red Sox and Bruins games to be distractions that are necessary to keep my sanity. I hate to think that we live in a world where not only have the wheels come off, but we can no longer drive on the rims like we have been doing for some time now.
In the end, at least in my experience, this sadness and uncertainty will lift, we’ll get up in the morning for a new day and maybe be better for our trauma. That starts Monday morning. Let’s get at it.