Charles Pierce reports from Boston:
Once I got to Copley Square, I sat down and talked to an EMT. He had been one of the first on the scene. The problem the EMTs had was that the bomb went off inside the security barricades. The barricades meant to protect the spectators briefly prevented the EMTs from reaching the injured. This was not the last of the day’s cruel ironies. The EMT told me that the first person he saw was a 5- or 6-year-old with blood on his face. He did not seem to be in any way injured. One of his parents lay on the ground next to him. The parent wasn’t moving.
Marc Herman points out that “today’s attack at the finish line appears to have coincided with the moment when, statistically, the largest number of runners — and presumably their friends and family — would be nearby.” Nicholas Thompson zooms out:
There’s something particularly devastating about an attack on a marathon. It’s an epic event in which men and women appear almost superhuman. The winning men run for hours at a pace even normal fit people can only hold in a sprint. But it’s also so ordinary. It’s not held in a stadium or on a track. It’s held in the same streets everyone drives on and walks down. An attack on a marathon is, in some ways, more devastating than an attack on a stadium; you’re hitting something special but also something very quotidian.
Ezra Klein focuses on the response to the tragedy:
If you are losing faith in human nature today, watch what happens in the aftermath of an attack on the Boston Marathon. The flood of donations crashed the Red Cross’s Web site. The organization tweeted that its blood supplies are already full. People are lining up outside of Tufts Medical Center to try and help. Runners are already vowing to be at marathons in the coming weeks and months. This won’t be the last time the squeakers run Boston. This won’t be the last time we gather at the finish line to marvel how much more we can take than anyone ever thought possible.
(Photo: Beacon Street near Kenmore Square remains empty for the use of emergency vehicles after two explosive devices detonated at the finish line of the 117th Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts. Two people are confirmed dead and at least 23 injured after two explosions went off near the finish line to the marathon. By Alex Trautwig/Getty Images)