The Boston Bombing is leaving us with many decisions to make, among them how to talk about it, and when, and how.
proposal is that no matter what else we do, unless circumstances
actively force us to do so we should never again mention the names of
these two men:
had everything going for them and instead of making anything worthwhile
out of their lives, they decided to seek significance by destroying
other people's lives. They don't deserve to be remembered as anything
other than two blurry images, as Suspect One and Suspect Two. Period.
Suspect One is dead. Suspect Two is in custody. They are now the problem
of investigators and prosecutors. All the evil that they did, they did
to get our attention. Well, screw them. They're not getting it.
say, "Remember the victims" and "Remember the heroes," but part of what
makes that so difficult in such a massive event is that there are just
so many. I propose that we choose two iconic examples, two men, and
The man in the cowboy hat is Carlos Arredondo. Carlos had been a spectator, passing out little American flags. The injured man is Jeff Bauman. Jeff had been at the marathon to cheer on his girlfriend.
iconic photo of bystander helping victim would be striking enough to
make these two men far more worth remembering than the suspects whose
evil act brought them together. But the story goes even further than
Carlos was himself a wounded man. An immigrant
from Costa Rica, Carlos had been so devastated at the news that his son
Alex had been killed in Iraq that he went inside the van of the Marines
bringing the news and set himself on fire. Two years later, his second
son committed suicide. This is a man that had been dealt blow after
blow, but rather than allow himself to fall into helplessness or
despair, became a peace activist, dedicated to preserving the memories
of fallen servicemen. It was in that role that he was at the marathon,
cheering on a man who was marching the marathon carrying a heavy
rucksack in honor of Alex. When the bomb went off, Carlos ran. Toward
the danger. Toward the young man whose life he would help to save.
was just an all-American guy living an ordinary life. He worked at
Costco, played the guitar, enjoyed sports, and was saving money to study
civil engineering.When the bomb went off, Jeff went down. At first, he
was in total shock, unaware of the extent of his own injuries, pleading
with rescuers to help his friends first. He was loaded into a
wheelchair, rushed to an ambulance, rushed to the hospital.
was there at the hospital that Jeff asked for a pencil and paper so he
could scrawl eight words that would start him on the road from victim to
hero: "Bag, saw the guy, looked right at me".
being treated for devastating wounds, an ordinary young man began
telling the FBI about the man in the sunglasses who looked him in the
eye, set a bag at his feet, and walked off. Less than three minutes
later, the bomb inside that bag exploded. With Jeff's help,
investigators were able to look through video and identify the man in
the sunglasses and the man who was with him: Suspect 1 and Suspect 2.
Arredondo and Jeff Bauman are my heroes, two ordinary men who rose
above tragedy and devastation to demonstrate everything that is good and
brave and loving and resilient in the human spirit. It is my vow to
them that the names of Suspect One and Suspect Two will never cross my
lips. When the Boston bombing is mentioned, I sill speak two names in
awed respect and admiration. Here's to you, Carlos Arredondo and Jeff