Amid the minute-by-minute coverage of the deadly explosions at the Boston Marathon on Monday, CNN political reporter Peter Hamby delivered the most sobering news.
“People are just sort of wandering around haphazardly,” Hamby told Wolf Blitzer. “You see a lot of people in the hotel bars drinking beers after the race, catching CNN, catching local news channels and just kind of going in this direction and that. It’s not exactly people fleeing downtown.”
Around downtown, pedestrians and traffic seem kind of normal, said Hamby. He reported seeing people sitting outside, eating pizza and drinking beer. There are some inebriated Red Sox fans walking around amid stricken faces and people crying, Hamby reported.
Nearly 12 years after 9/11 shattered our sense of safety and invulnerability, we have a new normal: Bombings happen. Life goes on.
As the day unfolded, we heard of the heroism we’ve come to expect from first responders, runners and spectators, but Hamby’s accounts of what he saw within a couple of hours after the bombings still lingers.
The picture of downtown Boston that Hamby paints is a far cry from the images that seared our minds following 9/11. Back when were naive, we gathered together and watched in horror as we tried to understand the incomprehensible. We’re not naive anymore. Mass shootings and recent gang-style executions of law enforcement remind us that tragedy can strike anywhere. None of us are safe. Tragedies in American cities have become so commonplace that we slip go on autopilot.
We say a prayer for the victims, watch a little news coverage, and now some of us go back to eating pizza and drinking beer.