Hours after two bombs detonated near the finish line of Monday’s Boston Marathon, a news helicopter filmed the scene for broadcast.
Paper littered Boylston Street. Blood smeared the sidewalk on its north side. Law enforcement officers in DayGlo, lemon-lime safety vests walked about. An American flag fluttered above it all, several yards to the west.
House Speaker John Boehner Monday ordered Capitol flags to be lowered to half-staff. Flags across the nation have been at half-staff far too frequently these past several months.
• On July 20, 2012, a man dressed in tactical gear set off tear gas grenades in a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., during a midnight screening of the film “The Dark Knight Rises.” Using several weapons, he shot into the audience, killing 12 and wounding 58. The sole suspect, James Eagan Holmes, was arrested minutes later.
• On Dec. 14, 2012, Adam Lanza, 20, shot 20 children and six adults at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn. The children were all 5 and 6 years old. President Obama called them babies. Lanza shot himself in the head as first responders arrived at the school.
• On Monday, two explosions took place about 10 seconds and 100 yards apart just before 3 p.m. in Boston. Three people were killed — one, an 8-year-old boy waiting with his mother and sister for his father to finish the marathon.
Roupen Bastajian, a Rhode Island state trooper who had just run the race, told The Associated Press: “I started running toward the blast. And there were people all over the floor. We started grabbing tourniquets and started tying legs. A lot of people amputated. ... At least 25 to 30 people have at least one leg missing, or an ankle missing, or two legs missing.”
The president was careful not to use the words “terror” or “terrorism” during a White House press conference Monday. “We still don’t know who did this or why,” he said. “Make no mistake: We will get to the bottom of this.”
Despite the president’s reluctance, Monday’s bombing was an act of terror. The explosions caused fear. They were intended to demoralize.
The Aurora theater shooting was an act of terror. The Newtown tragedy was an act of terror.
Next month, flags will be lowered to half-staff in observance of Peace Officers Memorial Day May 15.
Another day in America, when flags are flown at half-mast.