Everything You Need To Know About The Boston Marathon Bombings
4/16/2013 3:00:00 PM
Yesterday at 2:50 in the afternoon, Eastern Time, two bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.
Here's what you need to know . . .
Three people were killed. The names and ages of all three weren't released . . . but we know one of them was eight-year-old Martin Richard, from a suburb of Boston called Dorchester. He was there to see his father Bill finish the race, and his mother and sister were severely injured too.
144 people were injured. 17 of them are in critical condition . . . 25 of them are in serious condition . . . Eight of the injured are children . . . and one is as young as three. At least 10 people lost limbs, and doctors at multiple hospitals had to perform amputations. The most common injuries were leg injuries . . . to muscle, tissue, skin, and broken bones . . . and a lot of people were hit by shrapnel that was either contained in the bombs, or sent flying by the explosions.
The first explosion took place at 2:50 P.M., and the second explosion took place 12 seconds later, about 100 yards away, on the same side of the street. The bombs have been described as small and crude, but effective. Officials supposedly know HOW they were detonated, but they aren't releasing that information yet. Here's what they ARE saying . . . There were no initial signs of high-grade explosive material, like plastic explosives. That kind of material has a blast rate of 20,000 square feet per second.
Here we're talking about something with a more crude construction, using black powder, with a blast rate of 7,000 square feet per second. To put that in perspective, a bullet from a 9-millimeter handgun travels at about 1,000 feet per second. So these devices had the ability to injure people 100 yards away, and if they contained ball bearings or other shrapnel, you're looking at serious, grisly injuries.
And the bombs were located close to the ground, which is why there were so many leg injuries. Because of the timing and the placement, the attack was obviously COORDINATED.
Here's why . . . The first blast happened right before the four-hours-and-ten-minutes mark of the marathon. Fours hours, nine minutes, and 45 seconds to be exact. That's significant because it's THE busiest finishing time of the marathon.
All the elite runners have already crossed, along with most of the disabled who do the marathon in wheelchairs. So it's right when the HIGHEST number of people running for CHARITIES and CAUSES plow through.
Another tragic aspect of the bombing. 70% of the people running the marathon are doing it for a cause, and the finish line is like the Times Square of marathon watching. So whoever timed and placed the bombs knew what they were doing.
Supposedly police found a third device, but there were ongoing questions about whether it was found and defused, or even related. Other initial reports suggested that there were as many as FIVE devices around Boston, one in a nearby hotel.
If that were the case, those unexploded devices would be HUGE for the investigation.
There are no suspects . . . there's no one in custody . . . and there have been no claims of responsibility. But . . . There's a huge multi-agency investigation going on, involving all levels of government, including the FBI and the ATF.
The National Guard has sealed off the area, and authorities are pouring over surveillance, media, and cell phone footage.
Police ARE looking for a dark-skinned or black male, wearing a black backpack and black sweatshirt, who tried to get into a restricted area not long before the first blast.
Last night, Massachusetts State Police spent hours checking a lead at an apartment in Revere, Massachusetts, five miles from downtown Boston. They referred questions to the FBI, so it seems connected to the ongoing investigation. The appearance that the attack was going for MASS CASUALTIES suggests a foreign terrorist group. But again, the bombs themselves were pretty crude, and no one has claimed responsibility.
A DOMESTIC terror attack would be more likely to go after the Federal government or a military installation. So basically it's all speculation at this point. PRESIDENT OBAMA spoke about the bombings yesterday evening. He offered his sympathies and also promised, quote, "We will find out who did this.
We will find out why they did this . . . any responsible groups will feel the full weight of justice." He didn't use the word "terror" or refer to it as a terrorist attack, but the FBI HAS classified it as one, since a bombing at a major U.S. event is an act of terror no matter WHO did it.
The Boston Marathon started in 1897, and is the world's oldest annual marathon. All in all, 23,326 people started the race, and the bombs exploded about an hour after the winners finished. So: 17,584 crossed the finish line . . . 4,496 were held back at a certain point near the bomb zone . . . and 1,246 didn't make it up to the holding point.
The explosions at the finish line of the Boston Marathon were a tragedy. And like a lot of tragedies, it also gave people the opportunity to step up and help RESTORE our faith in humanity.
Here are a few bright spots from a dark day:
1. The First Responders: Anyone whose first instinct after hearing the explosions was to RUN TOWARD them to help is a HERO. You see it in the videos from the moment of the attack . . . police officers and race volunteers rushed toward the bomb, before the second one went off.
2. The runners who finished a 26.2 mile race and then went to the hospital to donate blood: One runner who wasn't named crossed the finish line, and just KEPT RUNNING until he got to Massachusetts General Hospital.
3. The people who lived along the course and helped stranded runners: When they called off the race, runners were left all over Boston. Some people offered runners their bathrooms, food, and drinks, or just invited them in to talk.
It's easy to lose faith in humanity when something like the Boston Marathon bombing takes place. But comedian PATTON OSWALT . . . who can be as cynical as anyone . . . wants you to keep that faith.
In a very inspirational Facebook message, he says, quote, "This is a giant planet and we're lucky to live on it but there are prices and penalties incurred for the daily miracle of existence.
"One of them is, every once in awhile, the wiring of a tiny sliver of the species gets snarled and they're pointed towards darkness.
"But the vast majority stands against that darkness and, like white blood cells attacking a virus, they dilute and weaken and eventually wash away the evil doers and, more importantly, the damage they wreak.
"This is beyond religion or creed or nation. We would not be here if humanity were inherently evil. We'd have eaten ourselves alive long ago.
"So when you spot violence, or bigotry, or intolerance or fear or just garden-variety misogyny, hatred or ignorance, just look it in the eye and think, "The good outnumber you, and we always will."