Tragedy in Boston

By now, you’ve probably seen the news online: at least two people were killed by bombs placed near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Latest reports have another explosion at the JFK library as well. Live coverage at the BBC Web site show people being wheeled away from the site in wheelchairs, some of them with blood or obvious injuries.

Still don’t know who’s behind this — could be a U.S. group, just like the Oklahoma City bombings. I’m sure groundless accusations will abound out there on social media. Which is a good reason to stop looking at social media for a while.

One minor trivia point: today is the day that Patriots Day is celebrated, commemorating the Battle of Concord and Lexington, and the beginning of the American Revolution (the BBC described Patriots Day as commemorating the evacuation of Boston by British troops, but they’re thinking of Evacuation Day, celebrated on March 17). Patriots Day is such an obscure holiday, it’s hard to imagine this bombing is related to it. Rather, the bombing doubtless targeted the second-biggest sports event in the U.S., measured by media coverage, after the Superbowl.

5 thoughts on “Tragedy in Boston”

  1. Actually. Patriots Day is far from obscure to some terrorist organization, and was the inpiration for the second worst act of terrorism on US soil. But it will be a while before we know who is responsible, if we ever do, and we certainly can’t tell from the date, since soneone might choose a date on purpose to throw suspicion on someone else.

  2. April 15 is also income tax day which has led to some speculation on Facebook that this was the act of a domestic anti-government terrorist. But we probably should hold off on speculating about this until we know more.

    The atheist-skeptic blogger Greta Christina said these cautionary words on her blog yesterday:

    I am trying extremely hard to not jump to conclusions about who did this and why, based on my pre-existing beliefs and prejudices. Many people leaped to conclusions about who was responsible for the Oklahoma City bombing, and most of those conclusions were dead wrong. For the record, my pre-existing beliefs and prejudices are probably somewhat different from those held by most Americans… but I’m not going to pat myself on the back for being differently prejudiced. I am doing my best to be a good skeptic, and recognize my cognitive biases and my tendency to jump to conclusions and rationalize them afterwards, and I am trying to hold off on any guessing about who did this and why, or any commentary based on my uneducated guesses, and wait until we have actual information. I’d like to suggest that everyone reading this do the same.

    If you’re suddenly feeling like life is very fragile and very precious right now, and these feelings are motivating you to take action… tell someone you love that you love them. Be kind to a stranger. Donate money to a cause you care about.

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