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Initial Thoughts on the Boston Marathon Assault

800px-Boston_Marathon_explosions_(8652971845)We do not yet know who perpetrated yesterday’s bombings at the Boston Marathon—whether it was a “lone wolf” or a group, or whether those responsible are foreign or domestic. Nor do we know whether the attackers were motivated by personal grudges or by ideology, or whether the acts were state-sponsored. Hopefully these questions will be answered soon.

What we do know is that the victims were innocent men, women, and children enjoying life and pursuing their values. They were fathers taking a well-deserved break from work to cheer on a son, daughters delightedly watching their mothers cross the finish line, elated Red Sox fans joining the crowd for further celebration, emergency medical workers cheerfully assisting exhausted runners.

What we know about the event chosen for the assault is that it is a symbol of human achievement and joy. The Boston Marathon is the world’s most celebrated race of its kind. Not only elite athletes, but also tens of thousands of ordinary Americans and people from around the world participate in this display of effort, achievement, and passion for life.

What we know about the specific location of the attack is that it was the finish line of the marathon. The bombs exploded at the moment of triumph—the point at which runners achieved their goals and loved ones rushed to greet and congratulate them.

Who would do this? We all have reasonable suspicions, but, until evidence points to a culprit, we would do well to recognize them as just that.

Hopefully, in the coming days, investigators and law enforcement authorities will learn who committed this atrocity, discover their motivations and any relevant affiliations, and apprehend or kill the perpetrators as necessary.

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