We at CultureMass want to extend to the people of Boston, our friends who live there, our deepest and most sincere sympathy that this annual celebration, one of the oldest in America, has been sullied by the twisted mechanisms of some culprit, or culprits, grudge. It is despicable and beyond reprehensible.
This terrible event has revealed an element in the structure of mass perpetration of these kinds of crimes though. Something so innocuous and innocent in the culture of America that we rely on them without a second thought.
Cellular phone service was shut down almost immediately. There were no shouts of accusation, only runners, exhausted from the marathon, confused and uncertain of what was actually happening, rushing to help the injured. Before first responders arrived, the marathoners themselves were running to the aide of their fellow humans. Whatever inhuman aim the people behind this terrible crime hoped to accomplish, it certainly never diminished the capacity of good human beings to help each other.
We have followed this story from it’s inception, update by terrifying update: Where are our friends? Were they there when it happened? We made our phone calls, we IM’ed, emailed, texted, as I’m sure anyone with loved ones in the Boston area or at the marathon did. And some of us weren’t able to get through.
This is because cell phone service was so overwhelmed in the area it caused a major telecommunications blockage (Nate: as a couple policeman explained to a class my wife teaches, this is common during emergency situations). Police even suggested sending texts if possible to free up enough air traffic to allow calls to loved ones. To help with the congestion, AT&T set up a mobile calling center, charging station, and free Wi-Fi. Google provided a website for checking on loved ones, and the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency set up a similar website in conjunction with the Red Cross.
While it was previously believed that a cell phone could have caused the detonation (articles posted by the Reporter Herald and CBS News previously referred to it, but that text has since been removed), the cause is currently being determined. Authorities did mention it was possible that the blast was caused by “small portable devices.”
There were several more bombs found after the marathon blasts, including one at a hotel and another at an undisclosed location. Coordinated, darkly sinister mechanisms at work in the hearts of troubled souls attempted to damage the spirit of Boston. But Boston doesn’t lie down and take anything.
The first responders to the scene of this heinous crime were patriots, acting as patriots in a city of strong people. Though this celebration was dampened by ill will, dampened with the blood of innocent people, this city took care of itself and took care of their guests and their own alike.