How the North Country experienced the Boston Marathon bombings

The Boston Marathon route yesterday. Photo: Aaron “Tango” Tang CC some rights reserved

Yesterday’s really shocking and horrifying bomb blasts at the Boston Marathon continue to be a mystery, and I’m not going to go into it here except to send you to NPR’s ongoing coverage of the story. There’s been some really excellent coverage of these blasts in various media outlets, and there’s been some really horrible stuff coming out.

For example, just a few hours after the bombs exploded, talk radio host Alex Jones was calling the bombing a “False Flag” operation on Twitter (here’s Jones’ Twitter feed), saying the goal was to discredit the Tea Party and expand the reach of the TSA. Now, I’m not going to make any statements here about that actual assertion, but if this doesn’t seem like insensitively using a tragedy to advance one’s own political agenda, I don’t know what does.

Salon, whose article I just linked above, also has an excellent roundup of the bombings’ bringing out the worst in pundits and others: Using them to play cheap politics, misrepresenting the scale and nature of the violence, maligning Muslims, and other classy moves.

But as I said the bombings are also bringing out the best in many, including in the media. Here’s some of comedian Patton Oswalt’s Facebook comment on the bombing, which has “gone viral,” as the kids say (read the whole thing here):

I don’t know what’s going to be revealed to be behind all of this mayhem. One human insect or a poisonous mass of broken sociopaths.

But here’s what I DO know. If it’s one person or a HUNDRED people, that number is not even a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a percent of the population on this planet. You watch the videos of the carnage and there are people running TOWARDS the destruction to help out…This is a giant planet and we’re lucky to live on it but there are prices and penalties incurred for the daily miracle of existence. One of them is, every once in awhile, the wiring of a tiny sliver of the species gets snarled and they’re pointed towards darkness.

But the vast majority stands against that darkness and, like white blood cells attacking a virus, they dilute and weaken and eventually wash away the evil doers and, more importantly, the damage they wreak. This is beyond religion or creed or nation. We would not be here if humanity were inherently evil. We’d have eaten ourselves alive long ago.

So when you spot violence, or bigotry, or intolerance or fear or just garden-variety misogyny, hatred or ignorance, just look it in the eye and think, “The good outnumber you, and we always will.”

The Boston Marathon is a major international event (I heard a reporter on the BBC yesterday refer to it as the “pinnacle” of marathoning, something of which I wasn’t aware growing up in Boston), so the people at the marathon were from all over, including the North Country. Today on the 8 O’clock Hour, our reporter Julie Grant talked with Canton native Laura Monroe-Duprey, who was running the marathon yesterday (you can see the whole interview here) with her husband. In essence, Monroe-Duprey told Julie that although the scene felt “a little like a war scene”, strangers helped her as she made her way away from the bomb site, and she felt “really lucky” to be OK.

Others from the North Country made it into the local papers today, and their stories bring home just how much who is hurt and killed in these kinds of violent acts is based on chance. Among them were Norwood native colleen A. Cotey, who, the Watertown Daily Times reports, had just finished the marathon and was about a block away from the finish line when she heard the first explosion. She was unharmed.

SUNY Plattsburgh biological sciences professor and marathoner Nancy Elwess was about 20 or 30 yards from the finish line when the bomb went off. The Plattsburgh Press-Republican reports in a story on locals in the bombing that she wasn’t injured beyond some small cuts and a ringing in the ear.

Keith Benoit of Plattsburgh had finished the race and was on a bus headed back to the race’s starting point in Hopkinton, Mass., when the bombs went off. He didn’t know what had happened until he got a frantic call from his wife, Holly.

Others got in touch with friends and family in the North Country, and, as the paper reports, people seem to be OK, if more than a bit shaken. Let’s count our blessings on that one as the news continues to roll in.

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32 Comments on “How the North Country experienced the Boston Marathon bombings”

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  1. Sorry but if you’re going to advocate this false flag garbage hours after a massive tragedy like this, then you (expletive deleted) better prevent concrete evidence.

  2. Michael Greer says:

    An excellent typo if ever there was one….

  3. Paul says:

    That is how it is the days of the internet. Any yahoo can do anything and get a bunch of people to look at it, even blog on it, and others to comment on it (like I am doing now). We all have to learn to keep quiet or we spread “garbage”.

  4. JDM says:

    ….but if this doesn’t seem like insensitively using a tragedy to advance one’s own political agenda, I don’t know what does.

    I think David Axelrod stooped even lower.

    “Tax day” “was it somenoe who was pro…”

    Political to the core.

  5. mervel says:

    You can’t have a conversation on the internet today without these assholes talking either about crazy left wing obama conspiracies or crazy tea party conspiracies, they are all the same.

  6. mervel says:

    If axelrod said that he is in the same moral boat as Alex Jones.

  7. dave says:

    There is absolutely no comparison between what Axelrod said and what Alex Jones is saying.

    Axelrod was wondering if this might somehow be related to right wing extremism. This is no different than wondering if it might somehow be related to Al Qaeda extremism. Both of those groups have committed similar acts of terror against this country in recent memory. Wondering if either of those groups may be responsible this time seems reasonable to me.

    Suggesting, however, that our own government did this to us to make it think it was someone else is about as tin foil hat conspiracy nut job as you can get.

    The two statements are just not on the same level.

  8. hermit thrush says:

    here’s the full axelrod quote:

    CHUCK TODD: I got that sense that there was this frustration that [President Obama] didn’t have more facts at hand and I think, frankly, not just him, talk to those investigators in Boston. Everybody is frustrated at how little it seems is known at this point. And they seem — I was told that the reason he — they debated whether to use certain words. I know that does matter. And that because when the president says terrorist attack, that’s a whole lot different than when Dianne Feinstein says it.

    DAVID AXELROD: Absolutely. And the word has taken on a different meaning since 9/11. You use those words and it means something very specific in people’s minds. And I’m sure what was going through the president’s mind is — we really don’t know who did this. It was tax day. Is it someone who was pro-[unintelligible]? You just don’t know. And so, I think, his attitude is let’s not put any inference into this. Let’s just make clear that we’re going to get the people responsible.

    here’s what hot air — hot air! — has to say about it (emphasis his):

    Pretty clearly, Axelrod was trying to articulate a range of possibilities, albeit somewhat inarticulately. The point here wasn’t that Obama thought it had something to do with Tax Day, but that no one at the White House knew what had happened and what the motive might be. Axelrod should have either presented a list of options or avoided mentioning anything specifically at all to explain that, but he’s making practically the opposite point of the assumptions some are making of it.

    In practice, it’s better to be careful rather than jump to conclusions. We should be agreeing with this point, even if clumsily made in this instance.

  9. Two Cents says:

    I remember the first reports from Oklahoma city bombing, were that the act was terrorist. later when it was discovered to be homegrown we were all shocked.
    i’ll wait to see what the investigation reveals in boston. if it’s outside job, inside job, false flag, tea potty, or run of the mill sociopath, it will NOT surprise me at all.
    maybe it was nra– you don’t need guns look…..

  10. Paul says:

    I was sitting at a meeting this morning with someone who finished the race 30 minutes before the bombs went off. This was a terrorist act plain and simple. It doesn’t matter who did as far as that goes. Many folks that live in Boston are far too familiar with terrorist acts that took place in Ireland perpetrated by the Irish. Terrorism is terrorism. Why are we even having this conversation? I don’t get it?

    Here is a list to jog people memory if they think this is some kind of new thing (BTW a lot of money to pay for those bombing came from Boston and other US cities):

  11. The Original Larry says:

    The restraint from jumping to conclusions and knee-jerk reactions from posters here is admirable. Too bad that wasn’t the case after Newtown. Why is there a difference now? Let’s jump to conclusions and settle this before people forget or before the conversation is postponed, etc.

  12. Walker says:

    Well one reason for the difference Larry is that there is no National Bomb Association promoting bomb rights and equating bomb ownership with patriotism and manliness. (At least not that I’m aware of.)

  13. The Original Larry says:

    Walker, that equation exists primarily in the minds of anti-gun activists. To imply that all NRA members are as you describe them is wrong. My point, in case you didn’t get it, is that people let their fears run away with them when it comes to guns. In fact, another poster here made a snide reference to the NRA in a lame attempt at humor…I hope.

  14. Paul says:

    But I’ve heard of the NBA?? That must be something different?

  15. Paul says:

    Since they probably used black powder in these bombs we will have to ban that as well. Larry looks like you will have to get rid of your muzzle loading rifle as well! I hope someone doesn’t do something with a bow and arrow or we are pretty much done in the hunting dept.!

  16. Paul says:

    Dale, Do you think there is a way to come up with an app for those of us that have already donated to this station so that it stops flashing that orange banner in our face?

  17. Paul says:

    Larry as far as jumping to conclusions I don’t imagine that any one involved in the actual investigation is dragging their feet or leaving any stones unturned. I think they have already detained some people that had nothing to do with this. For example they detained a Saudi man who was seen running from the scene (along with 10,000 other people that figured it was a good idea to run away from an explosion!).

  18. Paul says:

    Since it is the stuff of blog comments I will “jump” to a conclusion based on what we have so far.

    This bombing apparently used “pressure cooker” bombs.

    There has been one failed bombing attempt in the US using a similar device. NYC, Times Square 2010.

    They caught the bad guy two days later trying to get on a plane to Dubai at JFK. He was an new American citizen (2009) born in Pakistan and trained in a Pakistani terrorist training camp. (kind of a hybrid homegrown international attack)

    At the time the President (Obama) considered that if this was to happen again (and could be traced to militants inside Pakistan) we would have to consider military action against terrorist training facilities inside Pakistan.

    So here we are. If this is traced to Pakistan (my wild conclusion) what do you think will happen? Have those guys left Afghanistan yet? Maybe they won’t have to travel too far?

  19. JDM says:

    I figured there would be an Axelrod defense attempt.

    He stepped in it, he’s a big boy, let him dig himself out.

  20. hermit thrush says:

    jdm, i’m pretty sure axelrod doesn’t read your comments here!

  21. Arlo T. Ledbetter says:

    I knew I shouldn’t have even looked at this. Brain uses a Salon article about an idiot with a following only slightly smaller than MSNBCs to show the hate and vitriol that some are spewing. But Brian apparently didn’t think Salons own hate and vitriol was worthy of linking to. You know, that Salon article entitled “Lets hope the Boston Marathon bomber is a white American”. No, Brian didn’t think that was out of line at all. He didn’t think the rantings of other leftists like MSNBCs Lawrence ODonell making the charge that somehow, someway, the NRA (??????) was responsible for the difficulty of the investigation. Nor were any of the other massive foot int he mouth incidents by leftists referenced by Brian. Nope, it’s got to be a right wing nut job, just has to be. Maybe an anti-tax Tea Party type! That would play real well!

    The latest news is that it’s likely two young men found on security camera footage. Both appear to be middle eastern. Sad, huh? If it’s two Palestinians or Pakistanis or Saudis…well gee, that isn’t going to help people “lean forward”, is it.

    This is beyond pathetic. Open your eyes.

  22. admin says:

    Arlo–the blog post is not by Brian Mann. It’s by Nora Flaherty.

  23. Paul says:

    “Both appear to be middle eastern.” – or American. Arlo, are you a native American? Or do you and your family come from other parts of the world like me.

  24. Arlo T. Ledbetter says:

    Born and raised in the US, so yeah, I’m a native American. More PC crap. They look to be of middle eastern descent. Does that satisfy you? The point is that the press doesn’t want to look at this or at the Saudi national froma very prominent family who was originally a person of interest and then became totally uninvolved, and yet is being deported for National Security reasons and his alleged terrorist activity or attempted terrorist activity! Why is no paying attention to this? Why is the press willfully looking the other way? What strings is CAIR?The Muslim Brotherhood pulling that is getting the powers that be to lean on the press and not investigate this? It’s just like Benghazi.

    I thought I’d made an apology to Brian earlier, my bad. And shame on you Nora.

  25. Arlo T. Ledbetter says:

    BTW- the so called native Americans came from other parts of the world originally. Why not just call them aboriginals and leave it at that?

  26. Marlo Stanfield says:

    Arlo, given the time stamp I think you’re referring to those two teenagers who were featured in the New York Post today and who turned out to be totally uninvolved. … Or did you know the FBI was going to release those photos this afternoon BEFORE THEY RELEASED THEM! You’re part of the coverup!!!

    Anyway, I’m not sure if the men whose photos were released today, the two suspects in the caps, are necessarily Middle Eastern. I’m not denying the possibility but I’m not ready to jump to that conclusion either. I’ve got Irish cousins darker than them.

  27. Arlo T. Ledbetter says:

    They’re Chechen, or from an are nearby according to the news. Muslims. That just doesn’t fit well with the the “Lets Hope It’s A White Male American Tea Party/NRA Type” plan does it? And what of the Saudi national being deported? Where is the news on that? You have to look pretty hard to find anything. Doesn’t fit the plan, so don’t report it.

  28. Walker says:

    Arlo, did you read the piece you linked to? I’m not seeing your implication that it has anything to do with pinning it on Tea Pary/NRA types:

    If recent history is any guide, if the bomber ends up being a white anti-government extremist, white privilege will likely mean the attack is portrayed as just an isolated incident — one that has no bearing on any larger policy debates. Put another way, white privilege will work to not only insulate whites from collective blame, but also to insulate the political debate from any fallout from the attack.

    It will probably be much different if the bomber ends up being a Muslim and/or a foreigner from the developing world. As we know from our own history, when those kind of individuals break laws in such a high-profile way, America often cites them as both proof that entire demographic groups must be targeted, and that therefore a more systemic response is warranted. At that point, it’s easy to imagine conservatives citing Boston as a reason to block immigration reform defense spending cuts and the Afghan War withdrawal and to further expand surveillance and other encroachments on civil liberties.

    Nothing about smearing NRA types. Arlo, your paranoid streak is showing.

  29. Marlo Stanfield says:

    I do think that salon piece was flawed, in trying to conflate right wing terrorism in the U.S., which is and always has been (at least since the Klan’s fall from power) a fringe movement, with Islamic fundamentalist terrorism, which has killed thousands upon thousands of people worldwide and has adherents who run powerful political movements and actually run some countries. So yes, that is a bigger and more global threat and it makes sense to treat it differently.

    At the same time, I think we should remember that most of the victims of Islamic fundamentalists worldwide haven’t been westerners, they’ve been other Muslims who don’t subscribe to their particular hateful creed. And it’s undeniable that some people have taken out their anger on Muslims in general, when the terrorists don’t come close to representing a majority view in Islam. What happened is no reason to fear or hate Muslims in general, but some people will take it as such. I think that’s the point he was getting at.

  30. Arlo T. Ledbetter says:

    Marlo, look around at the statements by other people regarding NRA, etc. It’s not just that one article. But the bigger issue is the press picking and choosing the stories they cover, slanting the news and who it is instructing them on what to cover. Maybe that doesn’t bother you, it does me.

    In the end, 2 radicalized Muslims in America killed and injured a bunch of people for no good reason and the press refused to consider it could possibly happen. They won’t even look at the Saudi kid. And they sure aren’t covering the abortion doctor that was killing living infants. Why?

  31. Two Cents says:

    did anyone else notice that EVERY television station has disrupted normal broadcast to provide live up to the second monitoring of the crisis– that is EXCEPT for all the telemundo, v-me, Spanish television? they rambled right on with their normal programming. this strikes me as disrespectful.

  32. mervel says:

    Looking back at the early predictions about this whole thing, it is interesting how almost everyone was wrong.

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