Monday, April 15, 2013

Update on the Boston Marathon Attack

For 85 Nevadans, today was a day to remember. And today turned out to be quite the day to remember. Unfortunately for them, it was for all the wrong reasons.

[Tiffanie] Gaspar ran in her first Boston Marathon, finishing in 3:45.43. But about 25 to 30 minutes after she completed the 26.2-mile course, while she was cooling down in the family waiting area, Gaspar heard the booms.

“It was two explosions, unusual sounds,” Gaspar said in a telephone interview from her Boston hotel. “I thought, ‘Oh, it’s Patriots' Day. Maybe it’s fireworks from the Red Sox game.” [...]

Jerry Slater, 46, Henderson, a civil engineer and partner at the Slater Hanifan Group in Las Vegas, said he had finished the race about 45 minutes earlier and was showering in his room at the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel when “I definitely heard the explosions go off.”

At 5:30 p.m. Boston time, Slater said the hotel was still on lockdown. Outside the hotel, which is just across the way from where the explosions took place, dozens of police, firefighters and other emergency workers were still swarming.

“I feel safe, but then I keep watching the news and seeing these reports of other devices being found,” he said.

In all, about 40 runners from the Las Vegas Valley were among the nearly 27,000 participants in Monday’s Boston Marathon. It was not immediately known whether any of them were injured in the twin blasts that took place about 100 yards apart from each other.

In his brief remarks earlier, President Obama offered his condolences to the victims of today's bombing. However, he was hesitant to assign any blame He even shied away from declaring this an act of terrorism... Yet.

However just minutes after the President spoke, a White House official said today's incident was being treated as terrorism.

"We still do not know who did this or why and people should not jump to conclusions before we have all the facts. But, make no mistake, we will get to the bottom of this," [President Obama] said. "Any responsible individuals, any responsible groups, will feel the full weight of justice."

Though the president understandably did not use the word "terrorism," since the motivations behind the explosions are still unclear, a White House official told NBC news, "Any event with multiple explosive devices -- as this appears to be -- is clearly an act of terror, and will be approached as an act of terror. However, we don't yet know who carried out this attack, and a thorough investigation will have to determine whether it was planned and carried out by a terrorist group, foreign or domestic."

We can't jump to any conclusions now. We still don't know who did this. And we certainly don't know why. But at this point, it's increasingly feeling like terrorism.

We'll probably experience heightened security across the nation this week. Don't be surprised if/when you see more Metro presence on The Strip. There may even be more security in other parts of the valley.

In the coming days, we'll likely reflect on the increasing "normalcy" of running into terrorism, the growing footprint of "The National Security State", possible causes of today's horrific carnage, and other ways in which today's tragedy affects Southern Nevada. But tonight, our hearts go out to all the victims. We hope survivors and their families have the chance to heal. And hopefully, Boston will emerge stronger after today.

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