The Boston Marathon

It is a Tuesday, the day of the week I will always associate with terrorist attacks, and my country is once again reeling from the attack on the Boston Marathon. Although violence against the unwary public tends to hit me hard, I find that I am particularly angry about this one.

(What have we become, as a species, where terrorist attacks are so numerous that we even have the ability to compare them so readily?  September 11th was on a Tuesday.  I will always remember that and where I was and how I spent the whole day trying to use the phone.  And I was a lucky one, who lost no one.)

The Boston Marathon is special. It is the oldest running marathon in the world.  This was the 117th year that the Boston Marathon has been run consecutively.  It was where women broke into marathon distance running for the first time.  It is only open to runners who have qualified with impressive times in other marathons.  There is no one who runs the Boston marathon without an awful lot of hard work and determination.  Every single person on that race course was a role model for the rest of the nation; their accomplishment in making it to the starting line is more athleticism than most of us will ever achieve.  And hundreds of thousands of people line the streets to cheer them on and honor their achievements.  It is a beautiful moment for a city, when everyone can come together to celebrate something so wholesome and honest.  These are, with very few exceptions, not paid athletes.  These are our neighbors, the runners we see in the mornings out on their training runs.  They are dreamers who know that achieving a dream requires damn hard work.

There are a lot of things that don’t make me too proud to be an American, but the Boston Marathon is not one of them. It is special.  What it is not is political, so choosing that as an objective of terrorism is particularly awful.

It is being considered a terrorist attack now. The government wasn’t certain at first, but now they are. Terrorist or not, politically motivated or not, you have to be a really special kind of awful to attack long distance runners competing in one of the most prestigious events in the world. Couldn’t you be doing something better with your life, like training to be an inspiration to an entire country?

I think the saddest part for me is hearing the reports of all the runners whose legs were amputated, because the blast was most dangerous below knee-height. To think that there will be runners who will not run another race because of human malevolence is heart-breaking. My heart truly goes out to those that have been injured. My fury goes out on behalf of those that were murdered by murderers without enough conviction to go up in the blast.  As a sometimes runner, I am particularly angry at people I admire being the target of something as base as a terrorist attack.  They deserved better.

The most dangerous animal on the planet — the human being — strikes again.  I am well and truly saddened tonight.

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