Tuesday April 16, 2013

We don't have the answers as to who caused the horrific, deadly explosions at the Boston Marathon Monday ... or why they did what they did.

We only know some of the facts:

* Two explosions went off just before 3 p.m. near the famed race's finish line; a third explosion was soon reported at JFK Library but was later reported by Boston Police as a fire-related incident; and a fourth explosive device was found elsewhere that didn't detonate.

* Three people are confirmed dead -- one of them an 8-year-old child -- and at least 125 were injured, per the Boston Globe.

* President Obama, in a televised press conference Monday evening, confirmed authorities do not know who executed the attack.

* Of the 26,914 marathon runners, 17,580 -- or just over 65 percent -- officially finished the race before the explosions ended the event.

The explosions occurred on Patriot's Day, which in Massachusetts is a civic holiday commemorating the anniversary of the Revolutionary War Battles of Lexington and Concord. It's a holiday during which folks in Boston might take in a Red Sox game or spend time with friends and family ... or, this year, perhaps run a marathon.

The violence that erupted at the finish line was jarring, juxtaposed with the world-class sporting event, held on a picture perfect spring day in downtown Boston.

Participants and spectators alike expressed their shock and dismay.

Bonnie Eaton, North Brookfield, Mass., told The Banner she was in town with her runner friends Robert LaPointe and Kelly Sliwinski.

After LaPointe crossed the finish line he posed for a photo with his two sons, ages 6 and 11.

"As soon as I took the picture there was the explosion," said Eaton. "The first thing in everyone's mind was 9/11 and we just wanted to get out of there."

LaPointe was running for Team Hoyt, led by Dick Hoyt and his son Rick Hoyt. LaPointe told The Banner, "We just thank God we got out okay. We want to go home. ...Until I get home I'm not safe."

Bennington attorney Danielle Fogarty ran the marathon to raise money for the New England Patriots' charitable donations program. According to the Boston Marathon's official timing site, Fogarty was last checked in at the 40 kilometer mark. She was due to cross the finish line within minutes of the twin blasts. Fogarty confirmed in a brief email to the Banner Monday evening that she was safe.

Shira Sternberg, a Bennington native who resides in Boston, was about half a mile from Copley Square when the blasts occurred.

"Lots of sirens and people in shock and crying, screaming being carried by loved ones," Sternberg wrote in a Facebook message. "You could see the terror in faces."

Sternberg said late Monday she was planning to try and make it to her sister's home for dinner "and be thankful for what we have."

Gov. Peter Shumlin, who spent much of his day Monday at various events in Bennington, said via prepared statement "It is heartbreaking that what started out as a festive sporting event for thousands, including many Vermonters, turned into a tragedy."

Rep. Peter Welch said "Like all Vermonters and all Americans, I was horrified to learn of the events that unfolded in Boston this afternoon. As we anxiously await news on Vermonters participating in this event, we pray for the victims, their families, and the residents of the great city of Boston."

It's not knowing who planned and carried out these acts and especially their motives (though we may never know the "why") that is especially troubling.

We want to make sense of what happened, but we may never be able to do so. It was senseless.

At this point it's prudent not to jump to conclusions as authorities investigate this tragedy and our nation tries to heal.

Area religious leaders assembled at the Four Corners in downtown Bennington Monday evening to pray.

The Rev. Jerrod Hugenot, of Bennington First Baptist Church, said it well as he led the group in formal prayer.

"The heaviness of the world is bearing down on us. ... Let us be methodical before we start pointing fingers. Restraint is a beautiful thing."

~Michelle Karas