The attack on the Boston Marathon, which killed three people and gravely wounded many others Monday, sent a chill around the country. Learning that the explosives were detonated near victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting massacre, to whom the last mile of the marathon was dedicated, was an extra twist of the knife. It should have been a celebratory day. Instead, Copley Square was left stained with the blood while the rest of the city was rocked to its core.
"There’s something particularly devastating about an attack on a marathon,” wrote Nicholas Thompson in a reaction item on the New Yorker’s website. On one hand, it’s an “epic” event and the runners seem superhuman. On the other hand, “it’s also so ordinary. It’s not held in a stadium or on a track. It’s held in the same streets everyone drives on and walks down. An attack on a marathon is, in some ways, more devastating than an attack on a stadium; you’re hitting something special but also something very quotidian.”
In Iraq, points out the Chicago Tribune’s Steve Chapman, such an attack wouldn’t have even made the news. It’s a “reminder of how extraordinarily rare terrorism is in this country,” he wrote, arguing that our country naturally protects itself against terrorism. He argued: “Fortunately, America is just not fertile ground for violent religious or political extremism. In a free, democratic society, the sympathy for expressing one's views through murder is very low. That's our greatest protection against terrorism.”