Open Thread: Boston Bombings

I wanted to write something yesterday about the terrorist attack on the Boston Marathon, but I was too angry and depressed over it all to jot down something coherent. I still don’t think I have anything profound or helpful to say, especially since we still know nothing about who did this or why. And as Amanda Marcotte reminds us, we may not find out more for months or years, if ever.

Despite a pretty low level of irresponsible speculation, that not-knowing can’t help but fan the flames of rumors and conspiracy theories. What I was most struck by was how much misinformation was flying around on the news and in social media last night. There were stories that the death toll was in double digits, that the police had arrested a suspect, that they had found other unexploded bombs around the city, that cell phone service had been turned off to prevent the remote detonation of any more bombs, that there had been a controlled detonation at the John F. Kennedy presidential library – all now debunked. The evidence was initially so scanty that I wondered, briefly, if this was even an act of terrorism at all, as opposed to an unintentional tragedy, like a gas-line explosion, that had happened at the worst possible place and time – although it’s clear now that this was a crime and not an accident.

While we wait for the police and the doctors to do their job, the best advice I can offer is this: if you want to donate blood, don’t do it now; the Red Cross has all they need right now. Make an appointment for a month from now, when they’ll need it again.

If you have anything more helpful than that, any words of advice or consolation, I’m sure we could all stand to hear them. Consider this an open thread and speak up if you’re inclined, or if you feel silence is more appropriate, I can hardly blame you.

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