Saturday, April 20, 2013

Boston bombings

  Image:   boston.cbslocal

I was just looking at the image of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on a news  site when my daughter rang. "I can't believe he did it. He looks so young, so innocent, so untouched," I was saying. "That's the whole point , Mum. Bombers just don't look like bombers." " But he is so innocent looking. I am sure it cannot be him. " "Mum, a bomber isn't going to look like a bomber. That's the whole point and why we end up in these messes. Bombers are anyone and they can look as nice as they like. " It troubles me when I look at  Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's face that he could be capable of something so awful at such a young age. Not just the marathon bombings but all which has happened since. Boston is a city about the size of Melbourne and when I was listening to the news conference after they had finally caught Dzhokhar Tsarnaev then I was thinking it is just incredible a 19 year old can hold 4 million people or more to ransom. Granted he had a brother who was also a suspect. I need him to be a suspect. Sometimes it comes across as though he is it.  Guilty. They are it. Guilty. The two brothers wreaked all this havoc  and pain on lives and brought a city into hell. It's hard to know when you are on the other side of the planet how this is actually playing out. Are they suspects? Or is it like Anders Brevik? They are so clear about the two of them being implicated that a trial would really only confirm what they know? Suspects or not, then Tamerlan and Dzohokhar Tsarnaev have been so dangerous. It's the Boston police commissioner, Edward Davis, who really impressed me this morning in the news conference. When  I saw how many people were entitled to speak at the news conference I became aware of what a massive and tough operation this had been. Clearly everyone had played their part, including the public, and clearly there was a good feeling of being with  a safe and competent network of reliable colleagues. Edward Davis was asked a question at one point and suddenly he articulated for me all that had been the real achievement of this grueling,  ongoing,  hell-sent event . I knew it was awful .I knew it was tense. I knew it was hard, but Edward Davis' words took flight and crystallized the essence of what had made it so gruelling and yet such an amazing human achievement as well. He said the local police were not used to things like this. He said the officers were being asked to deal with something which was very dangerous and not part of their routine as Boston and Watertown police. He said Sean Collier had responded to a police call and then was caught up in circumstances which ultimately took his life. Sean Collier was the 26 year old MIT officer who was killed. Edward Davis then allowed me to have some clarity in this swamped head of mine. Boston is like Melbourne. What has happened is hideous and way over the top. Yet these officers have been out there, co operating as a team and the public has worked with them, to bring peace and safety back to the city. Officers like Sean Collier. So young and yet he did what he did to help protect others. The firefighters in Texas also lost their lives in the front line trying to help with the fertiliser factory explosion. So , really, we need to take the time to realise what these officers do for us and the risks they take to help keep us safe. Our police , fire fighters and surf life savers are no different. On Thursday we have Anzac Day and we shall remember those lost in war but we need to also shine the light and care onto these service people who put themselves literally in the line of fire to help protect us, even when it is unfamiliar and unyielding ground. We need a day to honour them.

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