This is not the column that I intended to write for today. It is one I hoped I would never write. But the events of Monday, Patriots Day, changed all that. First, the thoughts and prayers of my family and myself go out to the people of Boston and also those visitors that had a day of joy, and in some cases, lives, destroyed.
I am emotionally close to Boston. I have lived my life near there, visited often, and worked in the city for a number of years. The people of Boston are tough minded and resilient. They will get past this. But they will never forget. Two hundred and forty-three years ago there was the Boston Massacre. That has not been forgotten to this day. Neither will this new massacre be forgotten.
I sat in front of the TV Monday watching the news as it developed. As is usual in cases like this there is an immediate influx of raw information, a great deal of speculation, and some misinformation. After I had heard the same voices saying the same things and the same pictures flashing across the screen too many times, I went to my computer to try to dig deeper. At that point there was no deeper. Time was needed to sort it all out. As I write this on Tuesday morning there is still a long way to go.
As I don’t sleep well, I have plenty of time to think about things while I am waiting for sleep to come. I have no expertise in this area. No training. But I have been around for a while and I read a lot. So, like many talking heads I have seen on TV, I am going to do some speculation. I will try to be logical and I hope I make better sense than what I have heard from some of the pundits.
First, thinking about the bombs themselves. There was great video of the second explosion. It seemed to start at a point, near the buildings, and blast out toward the street in a cone shape. It is being reported that these devices were “pressure cooker” bombs. These are bombs that are made in a pressure cooker that is sealed to contain the explosion until the pressure gets extremely high, elevating the destructive power. They were first seen in Afghanistan. The bombs were packed with ball bearings, Bbs, and nails to shred flesh and bone.
As the two bombs went off within seconds of each other they were probably set off by one of two methods. They could have been ignited by two fairly precise timers or by cell phones. I’m betting on cell phones. Look at it this way. You dial the number of bomb 1. The ringer ignites the bomb. You hit end, cycle to the next number, bomb two, and hit send. The time to cycle through that whole sequence would be about fifteen seconds. About the actual time between explosions.
If my ideas are accurate, those bombs took a skilled bomb maker who had a skill set way beyond average. I doubt that bomb makers with those skills are going to be around when the bombs go off. They come into town, ply their sickening trade and leave. Others of less value will do the dirty work at a later time..
Those that placed the bombs, probably two people, seemed to be less skilled. If they had done their work two hours earlier the area would have been even more crowded. So it would seem that their planning and execution left something to be desired to achieve their deadly mission. I’m thinking that it might be a small group of local terrorists who may or may not be from the area but live in the area and have adopted jihad as their very own. If a professional bomb maker was, in fact, involved they most likely have outside support and, probably, financing.
All that having been said, I would not bet on them getting away with this gross evil. The skills and science of the forensic people examining the evidence will take this crime scene apart down to the last molecule. The Boston Police and the FBI are far more skilled and serious then what is seen on silly TV shows. One day, hopefully soon, there will be an end to this and it will not go well for those who have created this havoc.