April 17, 2013

Not on scale of 9/11, but anxiety, sorrow, memories to linger

By Eric Russell erussell@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

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Responders search the area around the Boston Public Library near the finish line of the Boston Marathon with a ladder truck in Boston Tuesday, April 16, 2013. Two bombs blew up seconds apart Monday at the finish line of one of the world's most storied races, tearing off limbs and leaving the streets spattered with blood and strewn with broken glass. At least three people were killed, including an 8-year-old boy, and more than 170 were wounded. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)

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Medical workers aid an injured woman at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon following two explosions there, Monday, April 15, 2013 in Boston. Two bombs exploded near the finish of the Boston Marathon on Monday, killing at least two people, injuring at least 23 others and sending authorities rushing to aid wounded spectators. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

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FOR MORE INFORMATION, visit our special section covering the Boston bombings.

Some of the public feelings about the events are likely to change as more information comes in, Deprez said. For instance, officials didn’t know Tuesday whether the bombings were the act of international or domestic terrorists. They didn’t know whether the bombs were isolated or part of a larger plot.

That unease, Deprez said, will keep people on edge.

“I think people have a greater resiliency to natural catastrophes like hurricanes because they are entirely out of our control,” she said. “These other events, including the shootings in Connecticut and Colorado, are hard because they happen in places where things like that are not supposed to happen.”

Shadick said proximity plays a role in people’s feelings, too. People in Maine are likely to be affected differently than people in, say, Idaho.

“But I do think these events become a permanent part of our collective consciousness,” he said.
Thatcher Freund, 57, of Portland said that although the Boston bombings were not on the scale of 9/11 in terms of injuries or lives lost, the ubiquitous images that have circulated on television, in newspapers and on the Internet won’t be easily forgotten.

“The sight of these people, these children with missing limbs, you can’t help but feel it,” he said. “The images and descriptions sounded like Afghanistan, only there were no soldiers or medics.”

Austin Saleeby, 26, and David Viney, 25, who were playing a card game Tuesday at an Old Port coffee shop, both said they don’t necessarily feel any less safe after what happened.

“I think it’s a reality that densely populated places are always going to be at risk,” Saleeby said.

The most upsetting thing about Monday’s events, both agreed, was the reaction to it.“Everyone wants to find meaning in this, and the sentiment is that whoever is responsible must be anti-American,” Viney said. “But we don’t have any information.”

“It’s almost like people were trying to out-feel each other,” Saleeby said. “So many people were angry about it. I’m just sad.”

Eric Russell can be contacted at 791-6344 or at:

erussell@pressherald.com

Twitter: @PPHEricRussell

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