There is a numbing familiarity to these scenes now, when Americans unite for a moment to share their horror at another despicable act that stole away innocent lives. This time it was in Boston, at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. The last reports I saw said three dead and well over 100 injured. The injuries included at least 10 people who had limbs blown off in the blast.
The descriptions of witnesses at the scene were unimaginably horrific. ”These runners just finished and they don’t have legs now,” eyewitness Roupen Bastajian said. “So many of them. There are so many people without legs. It’s all blood. There’s blood everywhere. You got bones, fragments. It’s disgusting. It’s like a war zone.”
I heard that the dead included an 8-year-old boy, while a 2-year-old was being treated with a head injury at the hospital.
As the grisly reports came in, I immediately thought about my 10-year-old daughter, who was with me at the time. She is a child who frightens easily, who visibly shakes when loud, angry thunderstorms come rolling through town. We cringe whenever we hear the shrill alarm of the National Weather Service, alerting us of yet another tornado watch in Atlanta—they seem to come with the regularity of the summer swelter here in the Southeast—because we know our daughter is likely to be cowering in the corner somewhere, fighting with Teddy, the family dog, for the most comforting spot.
What frightening images must she be conjuring in her head about the dangers of the city streets? She had just run a 5K last year—surely after the Boston Marathon bombs we would never again be able to get her to run a race outside.
With my stomach in knots, I turned to my daughter to see how she was taking in the reports of carnage in Boston. And what did I see when I looked in her face?