, Gloucester, MA


April 17, 2013

Editorial: Cowardly attacks cannot beat down our fighting spirit

The Boston Marathon, more than perhaps any athletic event, is a celebration of human spirit — of the athletic grace God grants to some, of the sheer determination given to others.

No terrorist’s bombs can extinguish that flame.

While the investigation is still in its early stages, don’t think twice about this: Monday’s horrific 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.

And as the numbers of the dead and injured rose overnight and Tuesday — with three people, including an 8-year-old Dorchester boy, were killed, and with more than 175 others wounded, including his mother and little sister, all waiting to greet their husband and father at the finish line — the true toll of this shameful act became clear.

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.” And in some ways, watching coverage of Monday’s events, indeed felt like we were looking at an act of war — with a number of our Gloucester and Cape Ann friends and neighbors — runners and spectators — on the front lines.

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