While the investigation into the April 15 Boston bombing continues, I remain haunted, as many Baltimoreans do, by the images we saw on the news and on social media of a completely deserted downtown Boston at what should have been rush hour. Of course, that was while most of the city’s 625,000 residents were “sheltering in place” during the historic manhunt for the bombers.
For Baltimoreans, it wasn’t hard to imagine it happening here. Maybe that’s because we have a lot in common with Boston. We’re both historic port towns, we’re both mid-sized, and we likewise share a sort of underdog spirit (especially when it comes to the Yankees). And in the republic’s two earliest wars, we both won a reputation for scrappiness. In any case, we took the marathon attack personally: While flags flew at half-staff the next day, the Orioles, for instance, observed a moment of silence for those killed, while Major League Baseball and its players announced they were donating $500,000 to One Fund Boston, set up to help victims. Small businesses pitched in, too: Dangerously Delicious Pies in Canton hosted a benefit concert six days later to aid One Fund Boston; at the Sole of the City 10K race on April 20, Charm City Run encouraged runners to support Boston by wearing anything Boston-related—Red Sox or Patriots caps, tees, or past Boston Marathon gear. And on May 4, Mother’s in Federal Hill held a fundraiser to support Erika Brannock, the 29-year-old Towson preschool teacher who lost a leg in the bombing.
It’s sad but true that, if all it takes is a couple of radicalized, unbalanced losers with online Al-Qaeda bomb instructions to pull this off, then it could have happened anywhere—at the Grand Prix, or the Preakness, or any mass gathering of unsuspecting, innocent civilians who couldn’t find Chechnya or Dagestan on a map to save their lives. And everyone knows it will probably happen again.
As an important aside, it’s worth your while to check out bostonmagazine.com to see not only the complete coverage provided in Boston magazine’s May issue, but also an unforgettable cover image—120 running shoes, all worn in the marathon, shaped in a heart around the headline: “We Will Finish the Race.” Bravo to all of our colleagues in Boston for pulling this together at the eleventh hour, as well as for their ongoing website coverage.