Boston and the Marathon, Nicholas Thompson in The New Yorker:
“The Boston Marathon is America’s iconic race, the oldest marathon in the country, and the most important. Eighteen people ran it in 1897; last year, thirty-five thousand did. It’s the site of Alberto Salazar and Dick Beardsley’s 1982 duel in the sun. It’s where Kip Litton may have ridden a bike, and where Rosie Ruiz definitely took the subway. The race is also iconic because you have to qualify. A New York Marathon shirt means someone got lucky in a race lottery. A Boston Marathon shirt means they’ve run fast. The finish line today was one of the saddest, most terrible athletic scenes ever. But in an ordinary year it’s extraordinary. Well-trained amateurs from all over the world: sweating, straining, slowing, sprinting."
"When we find out who did this, we may well find some fascination with the event—perhaps a foreign terrorist, or a sick American. Perhaps it was someone who spotted a terribly easy target. Or perhaps it was someone who saw a reflection of the human spirit and decided just to try to shatter it."
(Read the complete article here.)
A foreign terrorist or a sick American? Or a sick terrorist? Or a foreign American? Or an American terrorist? Or a lone wolf who happened to be both American and sick? Or a terroristic American? Or an American gigolo who became a foreign terrorist? Or a sick tourist? Or a terroristic tourist? Or a foreign terrorist on vacation?
Yes, terrorism tries to shatter the human spirit. Unless of course we fight a just war, in that case killing and maiming civilians is not shattering the human spirit. In that case killing civilians is just producing collateral damage.
And what exactly do we mean by “the human spirit”?