EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

April 16, 2013

Editorial: Marathon bombing was a vicious, cowardly act


The Eagle-Tribune

---- — The Boston Marathon is a celebration of human spirit — of the athletic grace God grants to some, of the sheer determination He gives to others.

No terrorist’s bombs can extinguish that flame.

While the investigation was just beginning as this was written, have no doubt about this: Yesterday’s horrible attack against the runners and spectators viewing the Boston Marathon was an act of terrorism. Whether the perpetrators of this cowardly act turn out to be motivated by politics or religion, whether they were foreign or domestic matters little. Even if the bomber turns out to be a lone psychopath, the goal was the same: to take a day of joyous celebration and turn it into a scene of carnage, fear and death.

Two bombs exploded just before 3 p.m. near the marathon’s finish line on Boylston Street. The first blew up amid a crowd of spectators watching runners finish the 26.2-mile race about four hours and nine minutes after it began; the other exploded seconds later about 100 yards away.

Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis said in a press conference that the bombs were small devices that had been placed in trash cans.

Initial reports said two people were killed and more than 20 were injured. But the toll of injured soon began to climb with reports of many times that number treated at Boston hospitals. Some of the injuries were severe with witnesses reporting several people missing limbs.

At Massachusetts General Hospital, Alisdair Conn, chief of emergency services, told the Associated Press: “This is something I’ve never seen in my 25 years here ... this amount of carnage in the civilian population. This is what we expect from war.”

We offer our prayers and condolences to the victims of this terrible attack and wish a swift recovery for the injured.

President Obama spoke shortly after 6 p.m. and called on the nation to say a prayer for the people of Boston. The president vowed that those responsible will “feel the full weight of justice.”

“We still don’t know who did this or why,” the president said. “But make no mistake, we will get to the bottom of this.”

There is no cause, no political position, no gripe or grievance that justifies such attacks on innocent people. We know state and federal authorities will pursue whoever committed this outrageous assault on decency and civilized society. We encourage them to be relentless.

When those responsible are found, justice should be swift and meted out not only to the individuals directly responsible, but also to any who provided encouragement or support for the attack.

The marathon bomber may have achieved his immediate goal of killing and injuring innocent people and gaining national attention. But whatever long-term ambition he may harbor will surely be foiled.

The American people do not bow before terrorists. Nor will the human spirit embodied in the Boston Marathon be cowed.

This race is held on the day that celebrates the courage and determination of the humble farmers, merchants and tradesmen who stood up, fought and won their independence from the greatest empire the world had yet known.

A free people won’t be beaten by the cowardly and uncivilized acts of terrorists.