When a tragedy like the bombings at the Boston Marathon occurs, many of us are naturally horrified at such acts of terror and stunned at how someone could be so disturbed and cold-blooded to perpetrate such an act of violence. But those negative emotions are also balanced with positive ones. The selflessness that citizens and emergency responders demonstrate during moments of crisis is truly inspiring and worthy of praise.
But there’s only one thing I’ve been focused on over the last 24 hours: who did this and let’s bring them to justice.
For starters, it sounds like the intelligence community was completely unprepared for this act of terror. There were no threats or any indications of an upcoming attack. Authorities are indeed scrambling to act on any leads that come their way. For what it’s worth, there haven’t been any reports of Islamic terrorist groups – such as Al-Qaeda – taking responsibility for these attacks either.
That makes me wonder if it was just some lone wolf nut, or at least a domestic terrorist group.
At first look, the devices used in the attack appear to have been rudimentary explosive devices constructed with a common homemade explosive mixture. Virtually anyone could have constructed them using readily available items. Although made of common items, it appears the bombmaker intended the devices to cause maximum casualties by adding ball bearings to multiple devices planted at a heavily congested event.
There were also reports that anywhere from two to five additional undetonated bombs were discovered throughout the Boston area – although in the wake of a blast, everything tends to look like an improvised explosive device. If such reports were true, the undetonated devices would have provided a treasure trove of forensic evidence for the investigators to work with. Boston is also covered with surveillance cameras, and if up to five additional bombs had been planted elsewhere, I would think the perpetrator(s) who planted all those devices must be somewhere on tape by now.
But Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick shot those reports down on Tuesday morning, saying the only explosives were the ones that went off Monday.
The next place to go is any suspicious activity from eye witness accounts. The New York Post was the first to report of a 20-year-old Saudi Arabian national here on a student visa who was at the scene. An eye witness had reported that the individual was “acting suspiciously,” and the individual was reportedly tackled to the ground and taken to a nearby hospital where he was being treated for shrapnel injuries to his leg sustained in the blast and kept under heavy guard.
Sources said that, after the man was grabbed by police, he smelled of gunpowder and declared, “I thought there would be a second bomb.”
FBI officials have been questioning him ever since and he is said to be fully cooperating with authorities. A large group of federal and state law enforcement agents raided an apartment in a building in the Saudi man’s hometown of Revere, Mass.
He said he had been at dinner with friends the night before and was at the Marathon simply because he “wanted to see the end of the race.” In an interview with the Boston Globe this morning, his roommate said he highly doubts his “clean and quiet” friend had anything to do with the attack. He described him as a devout Muslim and a soccer fan who is from the city of Medina in Saudi Arabia.
“He’s a good boy. I think he couldn’t do that.”
A second person of interest has been identified as “dark-skinned or black male” carrying a backpack. The suspect at large was spotted at the scene of the twin explosions at the Boston Marathon finish line and wearing a black sweatshirt with a hood, according to authorities. Five minutes before the first explosion, officials said the person attempted to gain entry to a restricted area and was turned away. Authorities say he may be a foreign national, based on his accent.
This suspect at large has prompted one photo to go viral of an individual possibly fitting the suspect’s profile:
As I stated above, this attack seems to have caught the intelligence community completely by surprise. Of course, it would be premature at this stage to start pointing fingers at anyone or any group.