Report: Boston marathon bombed -- two explosions, many injured, at least three dead

Two explosions at the finishing line of the Boston Marathon killed at least three people and left at least a dozen more injured, according to news reports. Law enforcement officials said they were caused by small, home-made bombs.

Photos and videos posted within minutes by witnesses showed scenes of chaos and bloodshed, with emergency services swarming the scene on Boylston street and smoke billowing into the sky.

The organizers of the Boston Marathon reported that two bombs detonated seconds apart, about three hours after the front-runners crossed the finishing line. A third device was destroyed later in a controlled detonation. Flight restrictions were in force late Monday afternoon.

The death toll looks set to rise, with some sources already reporting many more dead, and police still working to evacuate streets near where the explosions took place.

Updates below, timestamps in Eastern.

~3:15 p.m.: the first photos are being posted to twitter (1, 2, 3)--WARNING for blood and dismemberment.

~3:20 p.m. -- Police report another device is in front of the Mandarin Hotel.

3:24 p.m. -- 90.7 RAV FM posted a photo of an explosion, and reported that media was "locked down at nearby hotel." -- Dean

3:27 p.m. Boston's has livestreaming coverage.

3:32 p.m. -- "Medical tents already full" ... "All victims off scene" [via]

3:35 p.m. -- "Everyone in the area needs to evacuate immediately. Danger zone, do not stay." [via]

3:40 p.m. -- WHDH's Janet Wu reports that the area has been completed evacuated due to the possibility of other devices. "about 40 minute ago, I was a half block away. ... It's unconfirmed, but it happened at 671 Boylston Street. ... The response was immediate because there were so many medical personnel in the area. ... My colleagues and I saw many many injuries and those injuries were severe."

3:41 p.m. -- CBS reports "at least a dozen" injured.

3:42 p.m. -- A vine video of the explosion itself from WHDH — Dean. And on YouTube.

3:50 p.m. -- The organizers of the Boston Marathon report that the explosions were caused by bombs, detonated seconds apart. A fire was reported at Boston's JFK library, though it's not clear if there is a connection.

3:54 p.m. -- "Officials: There will be a controlled explosion opposite the library within one minute as part of bomb squad activities." [via] CBS News: "Third bomb detonated by police" [via]

4 p.m. -- Three confirmed deaths, reports Fox. Boston Police, however, say 2 are dead and 22 injured. says dozens are injured. The New York Post reports that 12 are dead.

5:34 p.m.: Google People finder, for anyone looking for missing persons in Boston. The Red Cross has an online register for people in Boston to let their loved ones know they are safe and sound. Here are other online tools people are using to connect. —Xeni.

5:41 p.m.: Multiple reports citing Boston police say JFK Library fire was not an explosion, but a fire believed to be unrelated to the marathon bombs. —Xeni

5:46 p.m. ET: has a video from directly next to the finish line as the first explosion goes off. Certainly the highest quality video so far– this shows scale of it, the immediate reaction and you can hear the second blast. Warning, graphic. — Dean

5:46 p.m.: President Obama scheduled to speak at 6:10pm Eastern. CNN and CBS are among the news organizations now referring to this as a terrorist attack. —Xeni

7:02 p.m.: Hundreds of Bostonians offering free rooms in their homes for people affected by the bombings. —Mark

8:53 p.m.: Patton Oswalt brings some positive perspective, and reminds us that the good people here outnumber the bad and we always will. — Dean

8:41 a.m.: This Reuters piece from yesterday has a few details missing from other coverage I'd seen, including the fact that the bombs appear to have been filled with ball bearings and other shrapnel. — Maggie

8:51 a.m.: Mother Jones tells the amazing story of Carlos Arredondo, a first responder who was photographed helping victims of the bombings while wearing a cowboy hat. Arredondo lost his son, a Marine, in Iraq in 2004 and attempted suicide while he was still struggling with that grief. He survived and became a peace activist. Yesterday, he was at the Boston Marathon, saving lives. — Maggie

9:00 a.m.: WBUR Boston reports that police were on hand, searching an apartment belonging to "a person of interest" in Revere, Mass. early this morning. Revere is just north of Boston. In general, WBUR Boston is doing an amazing job of sober, responsible reporting. Their update feed is worth following. — Maggie

9:05 a.m.: "Marathons aren't a sporting contest, but a celebration of being alive. ... These people aren't our rivals or our enemies, they were our partners." Marathon runner Jeff Pearlman has written a deeply moving essay about what this tragedy means to the closely knit community of marathon runners. — Maggie



  1. so… finally real reporting that calls this a bomb and not just ‘an explosion’ also…. man it sucks to get double tapped huh? we learned it from them too…

    1. “It’s not clear yet what the cause of the explosions are.”

      Who knows, maybe someone smoking near a propane tank set it off.  When there’s real information, we’ll hear it.  Until then, ‘bomb’ is speculative.

      Update: And now we know.

    2. As opposed to real reporting that makes assumptions based on circumstantial evidence and then publishes it as news?  That is what calling it a bombing without substantiating it would have been.  This is boingboing, not Fox “News”.

      1. If the OP means the technique of secondary explosions timed to kill emergency responders, “we” didn’t learn it from “them,” as it was established doctrine in WW2 for Allied bombers to drop delayed-fuse bombs as a fraction of all bombs dropped in each raid. As far as I know, the Germans and others did this too, and it may have even started earlier, as soon as reliable fusing like that was technically possible. “We,” the human race as a whole, can be nasty little shits.

        1. Thanks, interesting, though I doubt that’s what the OP means. 

          You’re reminding of what I’ve heard about our drone strikes, that we sometimes double back and end up, yes, killing emergency responders.

        2. Afaik the Germans did this first since they were the first ones with large-scale urban bombing campaigns.

          This doco on German ww2 munitions is pretty cool:

          This episode of man lab where he has to defuse a WWII bomb is also good:

          Watched a doco once on the guys who were tasked with defusing the unexploded ordinance.. Those guys were pretty much the most badass dudes in the war.

          1. my grandfather was an Explosive Ordinance Disposal guy late in ww2. up til 10 or so years ago, he would STILL get calls asking him to come to [insert western european country here] to defuse bombs in public places.

            from what i understand there are just sickening amounts of unexploded ww2 era ordinance all over western europe.. and a whole lot of it has been built on. scary stuff.

          2. It’s a almost daily occurennce, more or less. Lots of them don’t make even national news, only the bigger ones, when they have to evacuate a large radius.

            In Hannover they defuse a bomb about every two weeks.

    3.  Don’t jump down the throat of someone reporting minutes after it happened.  If he said it was a bomb immediately and turned out to be wrong you’d be criticizing them for that.

    4. Two bombs at the same time isn’t a double-tap. It’s just two bombs. Double-tap is a second bomb/missile attack timed to catch people responding to the first attack.

  2. Oh, fuck.

    Cue the self-serving finger pointing, self-righteous pontificating, false equivalences, and other shameless exploitation, including this sentence.

    1. My first reaction was “thank god it wasn’t two weeks ago when my kids where there”, so I’m already feeling guilty enough about my own self-absorbed callousness, thank you very much.

      1. Hey, welcome to being human. I recall the realization, shortly after the birth of my son, “Wow, I feel really guilty about how many lives of strangers I would sacrifice to save his life.”  

        1. That’s a rather strange thought.  I just went with “I’d run into a burning building”, but tastes differ. 

      2. Two weeks ago there wasn’t a big crowed with lots of cameras covering a major event.  Someone wanted to make sure this got attention and casualties.

          1. Well, before much was known about it, when it was just “an explosion”, there was a chance it could have been an accident.

  3. idea from someone on twitter the latest check in station of participants can be found here:  
    presumably one could get an idea where people are/were  if you are having problems finding them though other means.

  4. The Red Cross has a web page for reporting your status / checking on loved ones:

    1. My first thought as well.  I’d be willing to wager a steak dinner that it’s purely domestic.

    2. Actually it ISN’T Tax in Massachusetts until tomorrow, because today is a state holiday (Patriots’ Day) and government and post offices are closed.

      1. Post offices ARE open in MA. Federal taxes are still due. Its only MA state taxes that are delayed by a day.
        I need to get off Twitter and do my taxes.

    1.  I was just thinking “my desire for information about this event is vastly outstripping the availability of actual information”.  I guess that this limitation doesn’t hold everyone back

      would really like to know wtf is going on though

    2. I’m wondering what ELSE needs to happen today… Tax collection is in Hartford CT, not Boston.  So it’s not taxes.  What ELSE?

      1. Think “Boston Tea Party”–“no taxation w/o representation…”  Kringle, I’m with you; I’ll raise your steak dinner a 3-lb lobster to make the bet a surf n turf.

        One of my best friends’ sisters  in NYC was supposed to run, and as an accredited photographer, would have been up at the finish line.  Luckilly (??) her sis injured herself in training last week (I remember my pal mentioning this over a beer), and her own job kept here here in NYC today, so counting my blessings.

        Thoughts and prayers out to all.

        And let me repeat, I’ll bet a week of homecooked meals that it’s a domestic tax-protest jobbie.

        1.  How is wild speculation with no evidence that this was caused by US tax protestors any better than Alex Jones’ wild speculation with no evidence that this was a “false flag” attack?  (God I’ll be happy when people get tired of that stupid phrase.)

      2. Patriot’s Day -> start of the American Revolutionary War. It’s got wingnuts written all over.

        1. I’m gonna go ahead and say Alex Jones is behind this. False flag indeed, he doth protest too much.

          Anybody who would start the Revolution by bombing the Boston Marathon is obviously a fucking idiot. And, Alex Jones is a fucking idiot. So there you go.

          1. Not all fucking idiots are idiots enough to bomb a Marathon (or marathons would have stopped a long time ago, and very quickly), but it’s true that “first to smell the fart” is a clear sign of guilt, universally recognised by tribunals the world over and carrying the death penalty. In any case, considering the current state of foreign “terrorism networks” (who are way too busy winning political battles at home to worry about maiming random Bostonian runners), the coincidence of location, date and ineptitude (one device didn’t detonate, the two that did were too far apart… ) makes it a bit too easy to speculate on who is behind this.

          2. You sir are obviously a left-wing nut job. You are a fucking idiot. Jones may be wrong, but there may be some truth to it. Don’t discount it. 

            A lot more has been began by a lot less. 

            Go get an IQ test before you shoot your pie hole off.

      1. It will be a great opportunity for something, after all, 9/11 became an excuse to invade Iraq, despite the government knowing full well there was no connection. Who needs false flags, anything loud enough will do.

        1.  Since there is now the ability to utilize the military to go after what are probably domestic terrorists, I recommend invading MA.

          But for the safety of the troops air strikes dismantling infrastructure and a shock and awe campaign to cow the current regime is in order.

          Sure a few civilians will die, but this is war!

          A kill ratio of 100 to 1 per victim is the only way we can honour the killed and injured in Boston as we did victims of 9/11. If the actual perpetrators are too few we can pad those numbers with their friends, families and neighbours, or just whoever is in MA.

        1. Ah, good on you then. And thanks for letting us know; here’s hoping his shit doesn’t get much traction.

        1.  Posting from another computer; I read his comment and a Gadsden flag sprouted from my screen

  5. Three confirmed deaths, reports Fox. Boston Police, however, say 2 are dead and 22 injured. says dozens are injured. The New York Post reports that 12 are dead.

    Makes you wonder if any of them even know this for sure…

          1. Don’t forget that our fine fiends at FOX “News” also reported the false story of a Saudi national suspect.  Wonderful “news” organization they are.

          2. CBS also reported it on twitter, and NBC’s twitter feed said something related but didn’t mention the guy’s nationality. One of the responses to the one from CBS claims they saw on TV it was just a case of a Saudi guy running from the scene and being tackled by a civilian, so the cops brought him in for questioning, not sure if that’s reliable of course. (edit: here is a story verifying that the Saudi guy was tackled by civilians, so my guess is that there was probably nothing linking him to the explosion and some guys tackled him just because he looked Muslim, and the police felt obligated to question him)

    1. This is a good time for you to tell us how going through airport security annoys you…..

          1. Dude, it took her 70+ years to make it to the finish line. Someone should have helped her out long ago.

          2. @Artor:disqus You know she was 87, right?

            Jokes are funnier when they include real facts as well as a punchline.

      1. It actually is.  Shit draconian legislation tends to get passed within days of such events.  Screaming “hold the fuck on and lets think about this” needs to happen at roughly the same time people start going “OMG OMG OMG”.  I say this as someone living in Boston.

        1. Yes, this is the time to clumsily exploit the tragedy for our own unrelated, personal, pet political issue.

          1. Obviously since this just has nothing to do with airport security. Was airport security changed after Atlanta? Weird one issue, identity politics. But yes, obsess over airport inconvenience while blood’s still in the streets.

            I’m basically not feeling much patience for people talking (diverting) about drones, dumb conspiracies, or TSA right now.

            And that original post was made *right* after news of the attack broke.

    1. You need a trigger warning for ” A vine video of the explosion itself from WHDH”.  What the hell did you expect to see?

      1. Uh… that vine video is now playing, automatically, at the top of the BoingBoing main page. Anyone visiting, knowing nothing about what happened, sees the video without opting in. Not cool.

    2. Yeah, I think sometimes “trigger warning” is used to the point of word inflation, losing some of it meaning, but having such a graphic video autoplay on the front page of BoingBoing with no click-through required? Please fix it guys, it seems in bad taste.

        1. Yeah, true enough. Violence does not need to be bloody to be disturbing, but it’s a judgement call. I suppose I am at risk of being a concern troll here due to the fact I did in fact want to see the footage, but autoplaying explosions just seems a bit much.

        2. Trigger warnings aren’t about being SFW. They are about potentially causing a person with PTSD or similar psychiatric disorders to have a VERY BAD DAY (which could cause suicidal ideation or self-harm ideation). Typically you see trigger warnings on sites where people have issues with being raped, molested, or have issues with self-injury (which . But seeing people get blown up could also potentially qualify. Contrast this with seeing a naked adult body which psychologically harms nobody, but is considered a grave enough offense to get fired from your job over (which is why it is labeled NSFW).

          1.  But seeing people get blown up could also potentially qualify.

            OK, so we walk on eggshells about it? There has to be a limit to expectations.

      1. Autoplay of cute furry kittens is in bad taste, it’s autoplay. Although I would agree that autoplay of terrorist events is a step above that. 

    3. I agree that the auto-playing video of the explosion above the fold on the BB front page is unnecessary. It seems like someone thinking that the technology is cool, rather than thinking about the actual event.

        1. aren’t vines just oversized GIFs?

          No, it’s mp4, but a crappy implementation of it with no pause/play button.  

          I personally don’t mind seeing the video, but it’s playing on a loop and that’s very annoying and distracting from reading the article’s text.

          You can block it with Adblock as I did, I used these following settings:

[class="vine-embed loaded playing"src=""]<IFRAME

          YMMV, of course.  Rob should just grab a frame from the video and link to it, IMO.

      1. Vine is just bad anyway – who wants a square video? I suppose it stops people shooting video in portrait orientation at least.

        If you thought the vine was bad, don’t visit the photo gallery at  huffpo!

  6. After 9/11 I remember looking around and thinking “there will always be targets.”  In an open and free society there will always be easy targets for terrorists– bridges, sporting events, malls, schools, etc. 

    From Kenmore to Copley it is basically a huge party on Patriots day (marathon day for non-Bostonians), a friend once described it as “the day you’re allowed to drink in public in Kenmore Square” and a Red Sox home game was just getting out too. 

    I live in Boston.  I wasn’t born here but I do love this city.

    “Keep Calm and Carry On.”

  7. This sucks.  I will have to undergo a self-imposed media blackout for 24 hours until someone actually knows something substantive.  Right now TV news is having a fucking orgiastic freakout, compelled by the need to keep talking even when you know nothing new.

    Note: By ‘this sucks’ I mean that it sucks there are people who think killing innocents randomly is a viable outlet for political or personal action.  That sucks hugely, and fuck them and their agenda, whatever it might be. 

    Indirectly it sucks because it will be the launchpad for yet more assaults on civil liberties and democratic life.  It will also be the touchstone for any number of political views (i.e. Now, more than ever, we need to reduce property taxes in West Nowheresville!).

    I really want to know who, what, when, where and why, but that will take awhile.  Until then, count me out of television news.

    1. Agreed. I was at the Olympic Park in Atlanta two days before the bombing and remember all the crazy speculation that went on immediately after that bombing. Then years later, a real suspect captured. Trying to ignore ignore for now.

    2. The day of the bombing they had the video of the explosion on a constant loop just in case someone missed the first 5000 showings.

  8. Press conference going on right now, they confirmed the fire at the library was the result of an explosion.

    1. Library reports it was unrelated.

  9. Bombing runners? I oppose the death penalty, but I hope they fucking kill whoever did this.

    1. That means you don’t actually oppose the death penalty. There aren’t really any shades of grey on that one.

      1. I was gonna say, but then I thought, Heat of the moment, etc.

        And then I thought, runners deserve this less than other people do?

        1. It does seem particularly sadistic to target anyone out for a jaunt, by whatever means of transport (hike/crawl/stroll).

          I guess I say that because exercise seems, to me, to be lacking any political statement one way or another… at least in comparison to the machines of war and industry.

          1. Actually physical activity is quite political in just about every sense of the word. For example, your grandmother was forbidden to run in the Boston Marathon:

          2. You are correct. I was trying to stay on topic. I am aware of Katherine Switzer being ATTACKED by an OFFICIAL while running the… you knew it already!, Boston Marathon.

            Any target can be politicized. My point was that the WTC, the Pentagon, or even my dimly-lit cubicle in corporate America are more clearly political targets than people running a freakin’ race or just participating in any outdoor activity.

            “Bombing runners?” wasn’t meant to say they are a superior class (also, I’m not a runner) – it was a simply a:

      2. The difference is that I said “I hope the fucking kill whoever did this.” not “I hope they fucking kill whoever they convict of doing this.”

          1. “whoever DID this.”

            So, yeah, go right ahead and lynch, shoot, or slit the throat with a rusty spoon of the person who did this, IF you know with 100% certainty that they’re guilty.

            I’d wield the spoon myself, but I could personally never be that certain given my lack of live witness to the guilt.

            I believe in immediate vengeance, but I don’t trust cops/courts/jurors with that power.

          2. I believe in immediate vengeance, but I don’t trust cops/courts/jurors with that power.

            “Immediate vengeance” does not strongly correlate with “certainty of guilt.” If anything the opposite is often true.

          3. “I believe in immediate vengeance, but I don’t trust cops/courts/jurors with that power.”

            Sort of like people who seek their own justice by placing bombs.

          4. I believe in immediate vengeance

            Most likely the bombers are also big on vengeance.  Personally, I believe in public safety, not revenge.

          5.  “..Lynch, shoot or slit the throat of whoever did this…”
            I can only imagine what you would want done to all victims of Flying-Robot-Death-From-Aboves that have been happening as of late. Those cats holding flying-death joysticks would be RUNNING from the trial sentence you decreed, lol!

      3. I oppose the death penalty because I think it is VERY hard to absolutely prove someone’s guilt. Innocent people have been executed before which is why it’s not a system that gels with human rights, but in cases where it’s pretty clear the guy was evil (OBL, Saddam) I really didn’t care whatsoever.

        This situation will be a hard one to prove absolute guilt so life in prison is probably the way to go, but life in prison as a terrorist will likely be worse than death anyway. Ahh prison justice.

        1.  I oppose the death penalty because I believe any human-designed justice system is inherently flawed and prone to incorrect convictions and that the penalties handed out by the justice system must therefore not be permanent (in the event that the person is later exonerated).

          It’s a similar principle but the difficulty of proving guilt is not really involved.  It can be really, really easy to prove guilt and still have an error rate.

    2. The guys who did this probably thought the same thing (if there is a jihadistic connection):
      “Bombing weddings? I oppose…”

      This is the mindset that got you into this mess in the first place…

      1. You haven’t read what I wrote. Re-read the above.

        Takeaway: 100% certainty of guilt of random murders (which I’ve inferred is all but impossible unless you witnessed the planning and execution of the violence).

        Would it be OK with you if I simply wish for a long, painful, drawn out terminal cancer upon the person/people who did this? Or is that going to get you to, once again, lay a degree of responsibility on me for this tragedy?

        Also, “The guys who did this probably thought the same thing (if there is a jihadistic connection).”  –  You may want to reconsider your subtext. They couldn’t have been able to think that if Christian, Agnostic, or Buddhist? Only a Muslim could think that way?

        1. Yeah, I got what you said perfectly fine. My point stands.

          “They couldn’t have been able to think that if Christian, Agnostic, or Buddhist? Only a Muslim could think that way?”

          Oh, guess what those drone killings in Yemen, Pakistan, the war in Afghanistan and the ongoing conflicts in Iraq and  Iran have in common. (hint: not an agnostic, buddhist or christian terror group)

          1. I want the fuckers responsible to die and I’d  gleefully have killed them in advance to stop this from happening. I stand by that.

            My original post stated my opposition to the death penalty, as-in the institutional one administered by the government. I also stand by that.

            Reports are now stating that an 8 year-old is a dead victim. So
            I’m angry as hell and if I could take blood from the guilty, I’d pickle my string beans, marinate my pork, and dress my fucking salad in it.*

            You’re entitled to contextualize one event within all other world events based on no facts or information, I’m not going to though. I’m, not interested in talking about countries or religion or politics or lifestyles right now.

            Boston, and it’s marathon, will never be the same. In a major part because of the response this event will lead too.

            I’ve shed tears for my hometown. I wish I’d been in Copley Square today; at least then I could have tried to help real people (and not spent time bickering self-righteously, with self-righteous web-people, on BoingBoing).

            *get it? guttural anger? hyperbole?


            Boston, and its marathon, will never be the same.

            I went into work today.  Everything was pretty much the same.  I was very satisfied by this fact because if you were right then in some sense the bombers would have achieved what they are after.  I’m very glad you are wrong about this.

    3.  They didn’t bomb the runners, specifically, they bombed the finish line.  If you’re trying to look for plausible reasons why just think for a second about where the most spectators, law enforcement, and medical personnel are gathered at any given foot race.  They probably weren’t going after the runners, they were probably going after the event itself.

  10. First: Sympathy to all those affected by this, directly and indirectly. The rest of this note is NOT directed to them, but to those of us who have the luxury of distance and perspective.

    Second: This is why so many of us had decried all the “security theater” at airports as a complete joke and waste of money. Not only was it poorly done, but it was an attempt to defend a point that was extremely unlikely to be a target any time soon.

    We can’t completely prevent this sort of thing. We shouldn’t expect to, unfortunately. The only effective response to terror is to refuse to let terror run your life, and to try to address the _legitimate_ gripes that might encourage terrorists to act against you. Anything else is collaboration.

    1.  What if it was a drone strike? Taking out a “known” terrorist. Then, it was legal, and a triumph rather than a tragedy. Any males in the area would presumed to be terrorists as well. Good riddance. As for women and children killed and injured, that would be tragic, but part of the unavoidable costs of fighting terror.

      1. They shouldn’t have brought children into a combat zone. What were they thinking?

        I guess you could respond that it was actually  the drones bringing the combat zone to the kids, but anyway…

    2. I didn’t know marathon runners were enemy combatants.

      You might make a comparison between this and SOME drone strikes, but I can’t imagine there are many drones indiscriminately firing on crows of people. They have targets.

        1. Sure, that’s what I said.

          Drones attack targets. Sometimes those targets are in the company of innocent people. In this case the target is the innocent people. How can you not see the difference?

          1. But a crucial difference ends up being that those who claim they’re not targeting innocents (e.g., the U.S. and Israel) end up killing many, many more innocents. And yet, hypocritically, they turn around and accuse the other side, with its relative primitive, small-scale devices, of the horror of “targeting innocents.” 

            I guess it’s okay to kill tons of innocents, as long as you weren’t “targeting” them?

            Myself, I’d rather pay attention to effects than intentions.

          2. Facts stack up better than rhetoric.



            Effects of a drone strike: At least one legitimate combatant killed
            Effects of bombs targeting marathon runners: zero legitimate combatants killed.

            I’d say by your own rules you’d have to agree with me.

          3. My “rules” concern relative numbers of innocents killed, not supposedly legitimate “combatants”* killed in defiance of the international right to a fair trial.

            *as opposed to suspected criminals

          4. My “rules” concern relative numbers of innocents killed

            Which is why you should be pleased with the flying deathbots…. their use has resulted in less innocent people being killed overall in a theater of war. 1 is still too many but post by post you’re straying away from the context of the original comment to which I replied:

            As sad and ugly as a drone strike.

            No… in no way is bombing a bunch of bystanders at a marathon as sad and ugly as a drone strike. Drone strikes come in many shapes and sizes (and levels of legitimacy). Bombing a crowd doesn’t.

          5. teapot, it is well established that any males killed by a drone strike are “combatants” whether or not they are actually combatants.  There’s also pretty good evidence that the drone strikes are not nearly as “targeted” as advertised.

            You post on BoingBoing.  Would it really be some huge fucking surprise to find out the Obama administration was lying about this to their pet reporters at Slate and the NYT?

            The difference, as usual, is that the hegemonic world power gets to define who is and who is not a “terrorist” and therefore gets to unilaterally decide which killings are moral and which are not. From my perspective when you buy into the propaganda and repeat it you’re just making bleating sounds.

          6. Since the Slate article I linked to contains figures from a variety of non-government sources I don’t see how they would be manipulated. Did you read it?

            I’ve done some searching but can’t find evidence that backs up your first claim. You got any links?

            Finally, I do not buy into the concept that the US govt is an authority on who is and isn’t a terrorist whatsoever. I am not arguing for their right to do that, I’m merely saying: If they’re gonna kill people then I’d prefer it happen using weapons which have lower civilian casualties – which drones, according to all the stats I’ve seen, supposedly do.

      1.  Yet peripheral flying robot deaths far exceed what’s happened here. Also, none of the ‘justified/direct’ targets are actually getting fair trials. How many of them are innocent? It’s ugly, what people do. Doubly so (for me) if they dress it up in double-breasted rationale, mixed with yet another patriarchal ‘trust us dad-knows-what’s-best/we would never fuck up/lie/cheat’ declarative. Crazy people killing people is disgusting, sad, and at times terrifying. But when when ‘non-crazy’ individuals and groups believe they are entitled to streamlined, strategic, mechanistic murder, I also gag and retch, only a touch more so.

        1. none of the ‘justified/direct’ targets are actually getting fair trials

          How do you propose we give them fair trials when they’re in hiding and actively working to terrorise Americans and American allies?

          How many of them are innocent?

          Far fewer than the people killed and maimed in this attack.

          I am as anti war and anti military as they come. I think if you join the military by choice then you’re a fucking tool worthy of ridicule, but creating false equivalencies between targeting a bunch of people at a marathon and dudes who would, if they had the chance, kill you, your dog, your family any whomever else they see as the enemy without trial is nothing more than exactly that: a false equivalency.

          I support Wikileaks. I hate what your government does on so, so many levels, but blind repetition of “drones are bad, m’kay?” is not at all an objective way to discuss the practicalities of their use as a weapon. As the slate article I linked above points out, conventional weapons are far more indiscriminate – but people don’t seem to have been worrying about that too much.

          1.  I agree with the spirit of your position to be sure (I’m just ranting not humourously enough, while cooking chicken soup). Call it the 13 year-old canuck metal head from the 80’s in me, but flying death robots are, by their nature, eschewed from the concept of being practical, in any reasonable sense. They are something found in the lyrics of Voivod and NoMeansNo albums. Lyrics used to argue that for dropping out of culture. I agree, too, I am not being objective, in any way, lol! But half-seriously, it seems as though objectivity inexorably leads to reductionist approaches, and mechanistic models for attempting to navigate our way through the universe. Such presuppositions and models work fine in special circumstances, but as universal presumptions of how to best conduct our lives, these models lead to nuclear weapons, flying death robots, sterilization, Spencerite Darwinism, and eugenics.  These phenomena seem to be, primarily, indications of how the reification of abstract concepts leads to the willing of madness in society.  

          2. That’s the slipperiest slope I’ve seen in a while :)

            Flying death robots (we should call them this from now on) are not “eschewed from the concept of being practical”. They were developed in an effort to minimise putting soldier’s lives on the line (which they unequivocally achieve) and, according to the stats in the slate article above, they also reduce the number of civilians killed by war overall. Both of those are practical advantages.

            As I said above… the thing we need to fix is wars, not weapons. If we are in wars then stuff is going to be killed. There aren’t trials for the guys being shot at either. This starts by not applauding the actions of those who’ve served and telling anyone and everyone you know that joining the military is a stupid thing to do and you will think less of them for it. This patriot, hero bullshit is the problem. They’re leeches not heroes.


            Far fewer than the people killed and maimed in this attack.

            I highly doubt the number of innocents killed/maimed by drones is below 100.

          4. Yemen/Afghanistan: Some legit targets
            Boston: No legit targets

            My language should have been clearer. As a percentage, my point stands.

  11. If it bleeds, it leads.

    In other news, 6600 other Americans also died today.  Every one of them a tragedy.  And if this explosion is the best some wacko(s) can do, we’re in no significant danger.

    1. Death is part of life, but some deaths are certainly a lot more tragic than others. “Not too bad in the grand scheme of things” is a pretty insensitive response in the immediate wake of a senseless act of murder.

      1. They’re apparently confused about why a terrorist attack would get more coverage than a car wreck. Must be weird to live in that world.

      2. I’m in Boston right now.  This is my home.  As I was writing this as a friend who had been unaccounted for all day just checked in much to my relief.  This is a local tragedy that is going to touch a number of Bostonians and visitors to Boston.

        I don’t want a tragedy in my fucking home exploited to commit evil on me or the nation.  If more people had had the balls to stand up after 9/11 and say “wowah folks, lets think about this”, there might be a few hundred thousand people still alive today, and a few less three letter agencies taking a shit on our liberty and budgets.  The laughably named PATRIOT act was passed within days of 9/11 in what could only be described as full on panicked terror.

        They call it terrorism for a reason.  The goal is provoke terror.  Anyone who suggest that we maybe shouldn’t be doing the terrorists job for them has the right idea.

        This is a great tragedy for the victims AND not too bad in the grand scheme of things.  The two statements comfortably coexist.  Please don’t do the terrorists job for them by suggesting otherwise.

        1. It’s accurate to state that three deaths and dozens of maimed and wounded is relatively insignificant in the grand scheme of things. But just because a statement is “accurate” doesn’t mean it’s “tactful.” I could walk into a maternity ward and inform each new parent, correctly, that their babies might be dead tomorrow… but I’d have to be a pretty big jerk to do so.

          “Hey, people die all the time!” Is an insensitive response to a situation like this. Basic human empathy need not lead to panic and invasions.

          1. Yes, human empathy is needed FOR THE VICTIMS.  You should absolutely tell each and every victim that what happened was horrible and terrible and everyone is with them.  

            You then turn around and tell the 300 million other Americans to fucking chill out because in the grand scheme of things, fuck all happened, and their freaking out isn’t helping.  Not only is their freak out not helping, it is actively hurting, destroying, and doing the terrorist work for them.

            So to the victims: We are with you.  You have suffered a terrible tragedy.

            Everyone else: Chill the fuck out and stop acting like cowards.  The terrorist are not going to kill you.  Put the fucking legislative pen down, stop sitting their breathlessly watching the news, and most of all. stop letting yourself be terrorized by something that isn’t scary.  Heart attacks and cancer are going to kill you, so chill the fuck out and eat better if you are so worried about death.

    2. otoh, attacks like this are a proxy for civil unrest in general. yes, the current rate is very low, but if it is in fact increasing…

    3. The explosion isn’t the real hazard here, except for the dead and the injured. The hazard for the rest of us is another round of security theater and posturing by politicans eager to please, well, “us”. 9/11 worked very well to bring about a kind of terrorist victory, but this is not inevitable – see, for example, the previous world trade center bombing. Can we do better this time? These attacks threaten (and destroy) the lives of a few, but also the life that many of us lead. If the previous spineless actions of our elected representatives are an indication of what to expect this time, I’d say that the latter is very much in danger.

    4. In other news, 6600 other Americans also died today.

      Many of them prematurely and leaving their family in profound debt, all victims of the predatory, terrorist organization nebulously known as the Health Care Industry.

  12. Saw a tweet asking for Boston locals to unlock their wifi, to allow people to have some sort of way to communicate in the absence of cell phone coverage.  Seems like an ok idea to me.

  13. I ran the marathon today, and as always was blessed with the loveliness of the people in the Boston area.  Strangers cheering me on, people smiling, kids lining the course to high-five runners and wave signs for their families, and some of my own family members on the course to help me out.  Wonderful people in a wonderful place.  I was well clear of the finish before this horrible stuff started, but still feel a little odd. 

    I am sad what has happened to this city, and wish them strength and health.  For those who are injured, I hope you and your loved ones recover and regain the health and attitude that has made Boston so welcoming to my visits.  This is a dynamic place, filled with great folk. 

    As an ER nurse, I know what your hospital staff is up against today and tonight.  Please know that fellow nurses across America are proud of you and pulling hard for your victories.  Stay strong and heal.

    Denver, CO
    Dedham MA

  14. My heart goes out to the deceased, survivors, witnesses, and all of their loved ones. I also hope that the bastard(s) responsible are found and locked up before they have a chance to hurt anyone else.

    1. Oh my god. We don’t even know the name of the person responsible, let alone their religious/political affiliation, and yet people are already calling for the deaths of folks who had nothing to do with it. For all we know, it could be a second Unabomber rather than a foreign terrorist.
      On the off chance that the bomber turns out to be a white male and/or from the Far Right, I wonder how Mr. Rush would react?

      1. bomber turns out to be a white male and/or of a similar political slant (if on the most extreme end), I wonder how Mr. Rush would react?

        They’ll go into full denial mode and try to sweep it all under the rug as fast a possible. If it’s anyone brown, they’ll be hyping it for decades to come.

        You know their rules.

      2. This Erik Rush guy seems to be a professional troll, judging by his twitter feed. He says the “kill all Muslims” thing was “sarcasm”, basically designed to provoke a reaction from his real enemies the “libs” apparently.

        1. In other words, joining FOX “News” in nothing more than promoting hate and/or ignorance.  Par for the course.

        2. The only thing worse then a pinheaded inflammatory racist is one with aspirations of being a sarcastic hipster pinheaded inflammatory racist.

      3. With silence, and spittle-flecked denials that he ever said such a thing, even when shown recordings of it from his own mouth.

      4.  Immediately after the Oklahoma City Bombing, there were many who blamed Arab terrorists.  Years afterwards, there are still conspiracy theorists who believe it.

      5.  off chance?

        On Patriots Day/ Tax Day / in Boston?

        I’d say far more than an off chance. The far-right has been threatening violence for some time now, and yesterday is one of their angriest days.

        1.  Maybe it was radical environmentalists.

          Or is it less fun when it’s your “side” baselessly accused of a bombing?

          (I’m an inveterate lib but this stone throwing bullshit has got to stop.  let’s wait for the investigation, people.)

          1. I was merely responding to the “off chance” by offering up valid observations (significance of dates involved) of why it is not necessarily any greater or less chance and certainly not an off chance that the perpetrator -could be- of the most populous demographic in the country where the attack took place.

            I don’t have a side that bombs. If I did it wouldn’t be radical environmentalists.

    2. Seconded. NY Post too. 

      This goes way beyond politics. Their coverage of this tragedy has been both inflammatory and inaccurate.

    3. FWIW bb/disqus adds a nofollow tag to links, so while they get traffic they don’t get Googlejuice.


      1. I’m aware of the nofollow tag, but I’m referring to advertising revenue they’ll garner from more traffic on the site and mainly giving them credence by referring to them as a source.

  15. Experienced terrorists would have planted the second bomb about ten metres from the first, and timed it to explode one to two minutes after the first explosion, that way you get the people who rush in to help the injured.

    This suggests to me that the offenders are not the brightest sparks in the terrorism field.

      1. Yes if you like. I recall that after the 1986 Russell Street Bombing police cleared the site very fast because they thought it might have been set to draw more police towards a second bomb. I also recall that the IRA used this tactic and that it was shown being used by Saudi terrorists in the movie The Kingdom.

        So this bombing was probably not the IRA (duh) and probably not Saudi terrorists or people directly trained by them.

        Consider the sequence of events in the Bali bombing. Two bombs, the second much larger, fired 20 seconds apart. The first inside a pub, the second directly opposite the pub.

        1.  Considering everything that can go wrong with an operation like this I’d say you can’t rule out competent professionals who slipped up on one or two details.  Richard Reid and the underwear bomber were the dull sparks.  This attack actually came to fruition which indicates some degree of competence.

    1. Maybe the first bomb blew up the second bomb?  Also, I doubt the purpose was to kill as many people as possible, the purpose was very likely to terrorize people.

      1. The second bomb was way too far from the first one.

        Also, killing more people causes more terror.

        1. The second bomb was way too far from the first one

          Not sure you understood what I wrote. I’m saying there may have been another bomb at the same location that blew up errantly with the first one. Doesn’t really matter, it’s all just pure speculation anyway.

          killing more people causes more terror.

          Fear of being randomly struck is what causes “more terror”, not some certain number of body counts. Look to the bombings in Israel or IRA bombings in UK for reference.

          Or better yet, look at the 911 attacks which in the grand scheme of things didn’t kill a lot of people but still impacts the USA to this day.

        2. The second bomb was way too far from the first one

          Not sure you understood what I wrote. I’m saying there may have been another bomb at the same location that blew up errantly with the first one. Doesn’t really matter, it’s all just pure speculation anyway.

          killing more people causes more terror.

          Fear of being randomly struck is what causes “more terror”, not some certain number of body counts. Look to the bombings in Israel or IRA bombings in UK for reference.

          Or better yet, look at the 911 attacks which in the grand scheme of things didn’t kill a lot of people but still impacts the USA to this day.

        3. The second bomb was way too far from the first one

          Not sure you understood what I wrote. I’m saying there may have been another bomb at the same location that blew up errantly with the first one. Doesn’t really matter, it’s all just pure speculation anyway.

          killing more people causes more terror.

          Fear of being randomly struck is what causes “more terror”, not some certain number of body counts. Look to the bombings in Israel or IRA bombings in UK for reference.

          Or better yet, look at the 911 attacks which in the grand scheme of things didn’t kill a lot of people but still impacts the USA to this day.

        4. The second bomb was way too far from the first one

          Not sure you understood what I wrote. I’m saying there may have been another bomb at the same location that blew up errantly with the first one. Doesn’t really matter, it’s all just pure speculation anyway.

          killing more people causes more terror.

          Fear of being randomly struck is what causes “more terror”, not some certain number of body counts. Look to the bombings in Israel or IRA bombings in UK for reference.

          Or better yet, look at the 911 attacks which in the grand scheme of things didn’t kill a lot of people but still impacts the USA to this day.

      1.  We have been indecently lucky that our external terrorists haven’t, historically, been the brightest crayons in the box either.

    2. They talked about finding more unexploded devices. If those were bombs, they could have meant to blow simultaneously in a line along the street.

      But a bomb plot should not have so many variables either, so it’s still not the most effective.

  16. The city that gave home to NORAID and Clan na Gael now united in tragedy with Belfast, London, Dublin, Manchester and Birmingham. And again it’s the innocents that suffered, collateral for someone else’s “noble” cause.

  17. Conjecture here.
    This almost has to be a home grown attack.  Why?:

    Timing foreign would have timed it for two hours into race for highest damage.
    Would not have had such inept bomb makers.
    JFK Library.

    This was done much like many IRA bombings minus the warning call; i.e. they caused a lot of damage but because of warning call/timing casualties were minimized yet they received a goodly amount of coverage.
    I would have said “expect a call” but I think the group that did this will now want to distance themselves from the act, keep on a look out for missing fringe players.

  18. Conjecture here.
    This almost has to be a home grown attack.  Why?:

    Timing foreign would have timed it for two hours into race for highest damage.
    Would not have had such inept bomb makers.
    JFK Library.

    This was done much like many IRA bombings minus the warning call; i.e. they caused a lot of damage but because of warning call/timing casualties were minimized yet they received a goodly amount of coverage.
    I would have said “expect a call” but I think the group that did this will now want to distance themselves from the act, keep on a look out for missing fringe players.

  19. First, my sympathy to the runners, audience, workers, and residents. An awful thing to do at a sports event.

    My thoughts are also about what it will be like in the coming months to be a photographer in Boston, how much more paranoid the Boston PD will become as a result of this, and how much less fun it will be to be an MIT student. :(

  20. What’s to say that some Islamist organization wasn’t involved with this? Why can’t they create this and step back and see how we react to this blaming one another within the US? For real people; those who want to hurt us can very well cause something and see how we blow up at each other. WAKE THE FUCK UP PEOPLE!! We can be manipulated as easily as this happened. Patch up your bleeding hearts you fuctard libs.

  21. What’s to say that some Islamist organization wasn’t involved with this? Why can’t they create this and step back and see how we react to this blaming one another within the US? For real people; those who want to hurt us can very well cause something and see how we blow up at each other. WAKE THE FUCK UP PEOPLE!! We can be manipulated as easily as this happened. Patch up your bleeding hearts you fuctard libs. 

    1. When something happens close to you, it effects you, if it happens far away, it doesn’t. That’s human. 

      Otherwise you will first have to compare yourself to the entirety of human history to check wether or not you are allowed to feel sad. “Is it bad enough on the scale of internet morality for me to express my opinion?”
      Or another option is to be sad and emotional 24 hours a day because of all the non stop tragedy that is happening all around the world. Neither options are a realistic way to live your life.

      1. True, but in the case of Iraq, another option is to stop suppressing awareness (if one is an American) of one’s own part in death in Iraq, especially via tax dollars.

      2. I honestly did not “feel” any difference in the human suffering involved as it pertained to me.

        That’s the third option, also relevant to how information is now relayed. Even once or twice removed is sufficient except in exceptional circumstances, like Newtown. I have some small children of my own.

        But in this instance, I do not know personally any of the killed or injured (and injured people are alive, more alive than ever unless badly injured in need of a long recovery period) and anyone I know is greater than once or twice removed. That it is in the US seems to make no difference to me.

        Thus this incident is felt by me most to me as what it means to me specifically. That is, that this incident, small in relation to the world and my world, will have it’s greatest effect in how the liberties of my US family will be further needlessly curtailed.

        I don’t blame the bombers for that.

  22. While there are obviously many other people to think about at this time, the older man in the video adds some more humanity to the tragedy. You can see him collapsing at the first blast (he was directly perpendicular to it). There are a few pictures of him in the aftermath, he looks completely dazed. There’s actually an article about him, it’s good to hear he’s OK now:

    1. The way the cop is standing over him to protect him chokes me up a little.  Humanity at its finest.  Much better than when you see them standing that way over peaceful protestors.

  23. Dreadful event.  What a horrid, horrid way to push an agenda.  Poor people and families.

  24. Guys, take down the explosion auto loop. Where is the difference to 9/11 plane hitting WTC TV? You fall into same trap as the networks back then.

  25. Bartender, give me a unicorn.  Keep ’em coming.  Y’know? Fuck it.  Just leave the bottle.

    1. Right. Makes me wonder if ordinary Americans remain as innocent and naive in this sense as they were before 9/11.

    2. Making the victims of the Boston bombing and the victims of the Iraq bombing compete for sympathy should certainly make the world a better place.

  26. I’m personally waiting for the NRA press conference where they explain that the only way to stop bad guys with bombs is with more good guys with bombs…

    1. “Nuclear bombs! That’ll stop’em crazies!”

      “Sir, we do have nuclear bombs, but we can’t bomb our own city.”

      “Damn Health&Safety regulations! It’s all red tape anyway!”

  27. Could we change the post title please?  “At least 3 dead” seems to be
    buying into the general media hyperbole that always (and sickeningly)
    surrounds these events.  Wouldn’t “3 confirmed deaths” be factually
    informative without the implicit speculation of more horror to come? 

  28. About the ball bearings, I wonder if this is actually accurate.  I’ve seen a different report (I’ll try to find it again) that mentioned a “terrorism expert” who said there were ball bearings being removed from people, immediately followed by a quote attributed to a doctor who had been working on victims that said there were no ball bearings, just normal shrapnel that could have come from the area.

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