Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Speaking the unspeakable, again

As with events not all that long ago in Newtown, I find myself again haunted by a single sentence that encapsulates, for me, the immediate horror of yesterday's attack on the Boston marathon.

It's at the beginning of an article from the New York Times on the explosions' direct aftermath:

“These runners just finished and they don’t have legs now,” said Roupen Bastajian, 35, a Rhode Island state trooper and former Marine. “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.”

Had Mr. Bastajian run a few strides slower, as he did in 2011, he might have been among the dozens of victims wounded in Monday’s bomb blasts. Instead, he was among the runners treating other runners, a makeshift emergency medical service of exhausted athletes. “We put tourniquets on,” Mr. Bastajian said. “I tied at least five, six legs with tourniquets.” 

'These runners just finished and they don't have legs now.'

I am, myself, someone for whom running has become a vitally important part of life (though I'd never make a marathon).

This doesn't, of course, give me any special insight into the suffering that has resulted from -- and will continue long after -- yesterday's events.

But I think it, somehow, has heightened my horror even beyond where it would otherwise have been.

Which seems scarcely possible.

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