Saturday, April 20, 2013


HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: We had a blog scheduled for today...but the gracious Suzanne Adair has allowed us to reschedule her to a day we can be more focused.

We always tell you want we think. In these incomprehensibly difficult times, what are you thinking? 


  1. Today my thoughts tumble over each other as they have been doing all week: Thank God it’s over . . . prayers for everyone involved, especially the victims, the families, the city . . . how amazingly amazing the law enforcement folks have been . . . how difficult it is to understand how anyone could have perpetrated all of this in the first place . . . .

    I’ve been thinking that, as incomprehensibility played itself out on the streets of Boston, we saw so many people at their best, even in the worst of days . . . and that it is those actions that will come to define the events of the week. Even if we get our answers, even if we find out the “why” behind the horror, it won’t change what happened, it won’t change all that has been suffered, all that has been lost . . . nor will it change how people reacted in the face of that horror. We are all stronger when we step up, when we do what we know is right without hesitation, when we think first of others and their needs . . . we’ve seen the best and the worst, all wrapped up in events we will never erase from our minds. But we’ve also discovered within ourselves the ability to stand together in the face of the unthinkable . . . we’ve discovered that even in some of life’s bleakest moments, we can stand strong . . . .

  2. Hank, I'm still dazed. Former students messaged, worried, thinking I was there. I had several chats going at once. My week was full of how-are-yous and how-are-hes, how are-shes and how-are-theys. Good ideas. Questions. Information.

    Friends texted from everywhere, one from R&R, a break from war. Former classmates. We talked about the diner. How strange it was. A battle zone around our diner. On TV. There's where Sue and Carole lived. That's where Frank lives. That's around the corner from... Then Frank messaged from his duty station in Bahrain, "I just got a robo call from the police saying don't leave your house! WTF?"

    Too many questions. It was all too strange to absorb. We all agreed, though. If you knew what you were looking at. You felt different from people who didn't. Not worse. Different.

    Then Auntie-Mom called, "I just talked to everyone. They're okay."

  3. I'm wondering what happened to an apparently friendly, smart, nice young man that he participated in a deadly bombing and a fierce gunfight and then ended up wounded and scared under the tarp of a boat. The influence of a radicalized older brother? What?

    And I'm praying that anti-Islam fervor doesn't get worse (again).

    And I'm still so impressed by all the helping that went on on Monday, especially from race finishers. I crossed that finish line toward the back of the pack 15 years ago and could barely walk.

    And I'm glad it's all over.

  4. Yes, the younger brother - his face haunts me. I want to construct a narrative that makes sense.

  5. I'm a jumble of thoughts and emotions. Thrilled, of course, with the capture; thankful for the dedication of all the law enforcement people; grief for the loss of life and injuries; fear that easily-led people will jump to conclusions.

    It's hard to put into words. After being glued to the tv (or online, thank you WHDH) I'm going to make tea, dive into a book, and escape for today.

  6. Oh, and I agree about the younger brother. His face bothers me, too. There's a story there and it will be interesting to learn the reasons behind this.

  7. First of all, so glad the hunt is over and so sad for all the people left injured in their wake. And the loss of life...

    About that picture--it's interesting to me that most of the other photos show him smirking and less appealing. I bet he was scared to death though...

    And also thinking things could have been worse. The owner of the boat could have been shot. I don't think I would have lifted the tarp! And the police who looked after that too...

  8. Lucy/Roberta... thank you. I have embedded on area 17 of my brain that smirk he had on his face as people were about to be blown to bits.

  9. My co-worker was on vacation in Boston that day. They hadn't planned to go to the marathon, and were going whale watching to avoid the crowds. At the last minute they changed their minds and headed over to the finish line. They were blocks away and saw people huddled together, hear people on cell phones, and eventually stopped someone to ask what happened. She said the airport on Tuesday was full of FBI agents who pulled people aside if they looked like tourists or had Boston Marathon gear, asking if they saw anything, took any photos.
    Today I feel relieved that the second suspect was caught, but I want to know the story. What happened? Why did they do this? I want it to be about two men (I cringe when I hear them described as boys) who had personal issues, not part of a larger group. I want the story, but knowing what was done, I can't feel any sympathy for either of them.

    Like Edith, I don't want this to trigger more hatred toward Muslims.

  10. Apparently they sent in a robot to remove the tarp... I saw the robot being taken out of the truck but we didn't know what they were using it for until I read this morning. Then they got a look at the suspect from the helicopter -- I'd seen TV footage of the helicopter shining a light down.

  11. Personal. That's what this week has been for me. I love Boston. I love Massachusetts. My spring break was spent there, visiting with my son (a college student in central MA) and checking more sites off my "To See" list. It was devastating to watch the agony of the families involved in this tragedy. My heart aches for them. And I was fearful that more lives would be lost in the manhunt.

    I'm also so proud of the human spirt I observed. The video showing people running toward the explosion site to help demonstrated just how brave, nurturing, and strong we really are. Those first responders and their counterparts in hospitals and at the crime scenes should be celebrated.

  12. I got into big trouble on my Facebook page for saying I was angry that these asylum seekers took adventage of free education, scholarship to college and then turned on us like this. People assumed I was attacking all immigrants, which is stupid as I'm one myself... in fact most of us are a generation or two back.

    On the positive side, I'm so impressed with the speed that the investigation worked, located and arrested the murderers. I'm overawed with the dedication of first responders, ordinary people, trauma teams. Boston can be so proud.

  13. OH, yes it was amazing..I wasn't there yesterday at the scene, but Boston itself was swarming with police, ive never seen such a thing..and there was such a sense of gratitude..

    Everyone knows someone who knows someone..EVERYONE..

    I'm a little weepy today. which I'm trying unsuccessfully to figure out.

  14. What those two men allegedly did was heinous. I, too, would like to know why, and what disconnect happens that someone can take actions designed to kill and maim innocents.

    26 is young, but it's old enough to know better and be accountable. But 19? I am so terribly saddened by his youth. And yet, I find myself saying, this is a case where if that were my son, I would have to tell him, that if he did this, he has done something that puts him beyond excuses.

  15. This touches all of us. At the Giants game in San Francisco last night, they played Sweet Caroline. I had tears in my eyes as I watched the crowd. "No man is an island, unto himself..." feels truer than ever now.

  16. Boston, Mass, and the country deserve so much better. It makes no sense. But, also, no sense, the father and family get asylum because of the terrible physical abuse and threats that they will be killed by Russians. Now father lives in Russia? Oldest son went to Russia for 6 months to visit father? that son wanted to be on Olympic boxing team? Youngest son was comfortable and happy and then not? How can anyone stand next to people they plan to blow up? I want this to be something that makes sense, and yet none of it makes sense. I am so glad for the Boston people that for right now they are safe again. The Bruins game, the entire crowd sang the National Anthem, and some of them and I were crying.

  17. Annette, you nailed it: none of it makes any sense. The only thing that could is insanity. Is religious fervor of that extent a form of insanity? It makes you wonder.

    I have reminded myself (and others, I'm afraid) several times lately that we here in the US are lucky, in comparison to other places in the world. Where bombings and mass shootings and jihadism is an everyday occurrence. We are fortunate that this sort of craziness is still, even with the recent plethora of crazy events, relatively rare, or at least rare enough that we still have a collective national rage and sadness over them. I hope it stays that way.


  18. Oh, my gosh. Did you see--I mean hear, well both--Neil Diamond at Kenmore? The crowd was fabulous.

  19. I'm with Hallie. I also want to devise/see a narrative that makes sense.

    I read the younger brother was at a party on Wednesday evening, acting relaxed.

    Terrorist experts say that there was no exit plan because the brothers felt invincible.

    How ironic that the boy can't speak because of a neck wound.

    Bostonians stand tall, are great and appreciative of first responders. Bravo for the city and its inhabitants.rrjunc

  20. JRWs and commenters -- I really just want to know that all of you from the Boston area are okay.