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  1. says

    The fog of war is still present.

    The “another loud explosion could be heard a few seconds later” (as reported by the BBC) is also explainable as an echo of a single explosion.

  2. cfieldb says

    I’m only a few miles away, watching the news on a public access television. There were two separate explosions- so it doesn’t look like an accident. At least four dead, dozens injured.

  3. says

    Seems pretty clear it was two explosions. I posted up the two pictures that seemed most informative here. You can see smoke in the background and the second explosion in the foreground.

  4. Esteleth, the most colossal nerd on Pharyngula says

    I’m seeing (unconfirmed) reports that first responders have found unexploded things at the scene.

    Jebus.

  5. Ogvorbis, broken failure. says

    What are the odds on domestic vs. furrin?

    Based on the last ten years in the US, I’d say about 95% chance that, if it was terrorism, it’ll be domestic.

  6. throwaway, extra beefy super queasy says

    Somebody is itching to start a war….

    Yeah, just like Timothy McVeigh or Eric Rudolph were itching to start a war, right?

  7. leftwingfox says

    Horrifying. Best wishes to all in the area, hope my New England acquaintances are ok.

    I need to back away from the news though. I remember all the chaos and rumour and conflicting reports on 9/11 that made it seem so much worse.

  8. Christopher says

    [blockquote]Yeah, just like Timothy McVeigh or Eric Rudolph were itching to start a war, right?[/blockquote]

    In their minds they were. They saw themselves as the vanguard who’s action would spur others.

    Twisted shit.

    I wonder if we will ever find the actual perpetrators. I’m sure some one will be caught and executed, but that might happen so quickly that doubts will remain….

    My heart goes out to those killed and injured and to those that love them.

    Fuck.

  9. Randide, O che sciagὺra d'essere scenza coglioni! says

    Police have confirmed at least one more device has been found and detonated safely.

  10. Bob Arens says

    I live in Newton, real close to Boston. Apparently, the bomb squad just detonated another something near the library.

    One other note: Bostonians, I called the Red Cross today – donate tomorrow and through the week. They’re swamped.

  11. dianne says

    I haven’t yet found a link confirming that there were bombs involved. I could well believe in two explosions from gas leaks given all the deferred maintenance on public structures going on in the US.

  12. raven says

    I suppose a half dozen or so groups will take “credit” for the bombings. Whether they had anything to do with it or not.

    They always do.

    It could take a while to figure out who really did it, maybe a few days.

  13. dianne says

    Oops. Just read Bob and Randide’s comments. It is a bomb then. Or rather several.

  14. betelgeux says

    Delurking to express my condolences to all of those affected by these terrible attacks. I hope nobody was killed, although I have a sinking feeling there will be casualties.

    News outlets are reporting horrific injuries from the scene: some people had limbs missing, others were laying unresponsive on the pavement. It sounds like a horrific tragedy. The Boston Globe has reported that police have detonated an unexploded device found at the scene. It sounds like this was definitely a terrorist attack, unfortunately.

  15. says

    Uh-oh, I hadn’t even made the connection to tax day.

    Let’s wait until there is more specific information before we start blaming groups, though, ‘k?

  16. throwaway, extra beefy super queasy says

    In their minds they were. They saw themselves as the vanguard who’s action would spur others.

    I don’t disagree with that aspect, in fact that’s exactly what I meant. The question, it was rhetorical.

    Who did you think was “itching to start a war” this time? Any specifics? Be honest.

  17. Alverant says

    #27 I forgot it was tax day as well (my taxes were done weeks ago). Maybe it’s just a coincidence and the target was the race. This was a terror attack, I’m not going to pubically start blaming groups until I get more information. (I think most of us are on the same wavelength privately whether we admit it or not.)

  18. WharGarbl says

    @Mellow Monkey
    #28

    The Boston Police just did a controlled explosion as part of bomb squad activities.

    So am I correct in reading that they found another bomb and disposed of it?

  19. raven says

    Let’s wait until there is more specific information before we start blaming groups, though, ‘k?

    Good idea.

    We all have our ideas that we are almost sure are correct but differ vastly from person to person.

    But whoever it was, it won’t take an hour for the christofascists to blame the Kenyan, Moslem terrorist in chief, Obama.

  20. haitied says

    Oh FFS. . The first I heard was a txt after 2 unconnected calls from my fiance telling me she is ok, and on the train home. . My heart aches for those injured, killed and their friends & families. . . How selfish someone must be to perpetrate such awful and random violence. . .

  21. The Mellow Monkey says

    WharGarbl, yeah. That’s three devices confirmed at this time. The two that exploded at the scene and then the one purposefully detonated.

  22. Ogvorbis, broken failure. says

    They just showed an aerial shot of the site of the explosion. If it were an infrastructure explosion (gas) there would have been an excavated crater. There is no crater. There is a ‘punch-down’ impression in the sidewalk — in other words, a surface explosion. I am not a terrorist expert, but that tells me that this was a bomb (and the second one would have been, also).

    As to who it could be? Not sure. But, then, who is convinced they are under attack? being oppressed? My guess (and this is a very brown guess) would be anti-government ‘liberty’ group.

  23. Cuttlefish says

    WharGarbl@#31–

    12? Boston news was still saying 2 confirmed, as of just a few minutes ago, when the feed went kerflooey. I suppose it’s too much to hope New York sources have jumped the gun?

  24. Christopher says

    Who did you think was “itching to start a war” this time? Any specifics? Be honest.

    I can think of a dozen or more groups that might think something this fucked is a good idea. Then there are all the lone wolfs that are only ideologically affiliated with any given group. Who the fuck knows. Maybe Anonymous will trawl all the facebook posts from the marathon and find the perps.

    Anyway, it looks like something homebuilt. The video doesn’t show that much of a shockwave and the picture of the explosion has an orange glow, so no high explosives. Maybe blackpowder or fuel air bomb? If it was a ghetto rigged IED, it really could be anyone….

  25. Ben P says

    Maybe blackpowder or fuel air bomb? If it was a ghetto rigged IED, it really could be anyone….

    The pictures and video show a good sized orange fireball, about a story tall and more than that wide. That would be big for a pipe bomb, something backpack sized at least.

  26. Christopher says

    The fact there was a bomb at a library says something too.

    Yeah, the type of terrorist that will bomb a marathon and library is much different from the type of terrorist that would bomb a football game and fox news affiliate…

    Total suckage.

  27. New England Bob says

    My daughter is an ER nurse working the medical tent at the finish line. She was one of the first on scene. She saw body parts and blood everywhere. Her team treated many.

  28. nightshadequeen says

    AFAIK phone bandwidth is saturated right now – even SMS isn’t really working right now.

    If you need to contact someone in the Boston area, email is probably working best right now.

  29. davidnangle says

    Patriot’s Day in Massachusetts, with reenactments of the Battle of Lexington and the Battle of Concord, at the Old North Bridge. The bombs went off probably not that far from the location of the original Tea Party.

    Not to mention, the marathon is usually won by a group of Kenyans.

    This is loaded with all sorts of possible messages. If you’re a lunatic.

  30. Ogvorbis, broken failure. says

    Boston Police are advising pedestrians to stay away from garbage cans.

    FAE’s aren’t easy. Too much variability in fuel disbursement — too much gas, or not enough gas, and ignition is iffy. Black powder (as well as nitrogen and fuel oil bombs) are tracked pretty closely by ATF. Perhaps a hydrogen peroxide bomb? As far as I know, peroxide is not tracked (could be wrong).

  31. Ogvorbis, broken failure. says

    My daughter is an ER nurse working the medical tent at the finish line. She was one of the first on scene. She saw body parts and blood everywhere. Her team treated many.

    I hope stress debrief specialists are made available for her. And all the rescue workers.

  32. The Mellow Monkey says

    This Year’s Boston Marathon Will Be Even More Emotional

    Some of the parents from the tragic school shooting in Newtown, Conn are making the two and a half hour drive up to Boston to participate in the run as their own way of honoring the victims. They are honoring the twenty children as well as the six educators who were gunned down last December. The Boston Marathon itself is honoring the 26 victims of the shooting with a special marker that is set up at the end of mile 26. The marker is the city seal and is adorned with a star for each victim.

  33. Randide, O che sciagὺra d'essere scenza coglioni! says

    Saw an interview with a runner who was absolutely certain that the explosion came from a garbage can, not from a building. For what it’s worth.

  34. Alverant says

    #40
    Nope, inside I’m blaming groups. But I won’t tell which groups until we know more. That way if I’m wrong I don’t have to admit it. Plus at this point public finger pointing is distracting from making sure there are no more bombs and the wounded are attended to and everyone has collected themselves.

  35. betelgeux says

    Whoops, sorry for #47

    What I was trying to say was:

    @WharGarbl #31

    Fuck. I’ve only heard that two are dead, which is horrible enough, but if your source is correct and 12 are dead then this is just catastrophic. NBC just interviewed the EMS chief at Boston Medical Center, who reported that the injuries were akin to those seen in war zones like Iraq and Syria. People were coming to the ER with arms and legs blown off, and most had severe blood loss. This is terrible.

  36. Ben P says

    FAE’s aren’t easy. Too much variability in fuel disbursement — too much gas, or not enough gas, and ignition is iffy. Black powder (as well as nitrogen and fuel oil bombs) are tracked pretty closely by ATF. Perhaps a hydrogen peroxide bomb? As far as I know, peroxide is not tracked (could be wrong).

    Perhaps, my recollection is that they’re both tracked in a way that makes them easy to trace rather than a way that tracks purchases live.

    During muzzle loading season I can go to wal-mart and buy a couple ounces of black powder in a can. Nothing suspicious at all unless I were to buy a whole lot together, that might generate a phone call if the employee cared enough.

    but IIRC it’s manufactured with chemical tracers and sold by lot number so if I were to make a bomb, it would be easy to determine where and when it was sold.

    Same with fertilizer. Ammonium Nitrate based fertilizer can still be bought, as can diesel fuel, but I think it’s also manufactured with tracers in it.

  37. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Perhaps a hydrogen peroxide bomb? As far as I know, peroxide is not tracked (could be wrong).

    I suspect there is no tracking of the 3% H2O2 bought in drug stores. Get up to 30% H2O2, and some regulations do kick in on shipping and tracking (toxic oxidizer). Anything higher in concentration, and I suspect records are kept. The higher the concentration, the more unstable it becomes.

  38. Goodbye Enemy Janine says

    No point in speculating who or whom is responsible. That path leads to actual harm to real people, people who had nothing to do with the incident.

  39. Ogvorbis, broken failure. says

    Ibis3:

    I caught that, too. Strange.

    Thanks for the info regarding H2O2. I was aware of the trackers in nitrogen fertilizer and in black powder, but wasn’t sure about the peroxide. Yeah, 3% and 30% is a big difference.

  40. Alverant says

    #59
    Yeah, that’s why we don’t want to publically start finger pointing yet. Don’t want to make the situation worse.

  41. Alverant says

    For the H202 question, is it possible to boil it to remove the water or does the H2O2 go with it?

  42. ChasCPeterson says

    NY Post reports that a suspect has been IDed and is under guard in a hospital.

  43. Christopher says

    It is pretty easy to make your own blackpowder. But then again, it isn’t all that much harder to refine nitric acid from fertilizer then use that to build something fancy. Terrorists these days, can’t be bothered to learn chemistry from old textbooks…

    I’m actually surprised that some sort of manifesto hasn’t already been released.

  44. betelgeux says

    Boston Globe says police have gotten reports of several unexploded devices found around Boston. I’m not sure if these reports are confirmed or if they are the result of paranoia after this terrible tragedy.

  45. says

    @Ibis3, #59:

    Well, of course. If you’re a part of the political establishment, then terrorist bombing == justification to start a war == reason to rattle sabers about the enemy du jour. I’m just amazed they didn’t make a crack about Iran at the same time.

  46. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    For the H202 question, is it possible to boil it to remove the water or does the H2O2 go with it?

    Actually, H2O2 undergoes auto oxidation/reduction to form water (H2O) and oxygen (O2), Happens when hydrogen peroxide solutions are heated, or certain catalysts (like iron or copper) are present.

  47. koncorde says

    Before we all start guessing who did it, just remember that someone somewhere is about to call this a false flag attack and feed a fudgenut load of paranoia – so lets not provide an equally deluded counterpoint.

    At this moment this is a tragic event.

    I would like to second the Red Cross call, blood is always needed – and now seems like a bloody good time to go and give a little.

  48. throwaway, extra beefy super queasy says

    (I think most of us are on the same wavelength privately whether we admit it or not.)

    Allow me to be the destructive interference of that wavelength. How fucked up is it to see you admit to, not only not knowing, but also being certain you know which group it was, and then too ashamed to admit who you’re thinking it was. That should be a clue to you right there. Also how revolting it is to see someone primed in such a way that they think that since “we’re” all thinking it (no, we’re not), their conclusions based on personal prejudices are justified.

    Which is it this time, Eastasia or Eurasia? Red or Blue? Tell me why your wavelength is shifted in such a peculiarly focused way with absolutely nothing except one standalone event to cause that wave?

    You don’t have a clue, you have a character with a role to fill and a role just opened up. You are typecasting.

  49. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Those who use hydrogen peroxide in bombs react it with a common solvent. The “shoe bomber” guy tried using this. Hard to get pure enough product to be a viable explosive in the kitchen.

  50. says

    The Vicar:
    Well, what else can you expect from Alex Jones? I think I’ll go trawl a few of the conspiracy sites and see what they’re coming up with.

  51. ButchKitties says

    Streaming news conference with the Boston PD commissioner says there was a third explosion, not including the device purposefully detonated by police.

  52. koncorde says

    @69

    I suspected I would be late, but I hoped with all my heart that the sick sack of excrement might have a day off and I had no intention of looking for his comments.

  53. says

    Remember, after OKC we were told the suspect was brown-skinned and middle-eastern looking, and the police even announced that they were searching for a person matching that description. There are still wackos who insist there was a “third terrorist” and a middle-eastern connections.

    Right now, the Boston police would love to have a suspect in custody. I wouldn’t want to be looking vaguely Arabic in that city today.

  54. ChasCPeterson says

    NY Post:

    Investigators have a suspect — a Saudi Arabian national — in the horrific Boston Marathon bombings, The Post has learned.

    Law enforcement sources said the 20-year-old suspect was under guard at an undisclosed Boston hospital.

    It was not immediately clear why the man was hospitalized and whether he was injured in the attack or in his apprehension.

    The man was caught less than two hours after the 2:50 p.m. bombing on the finish line of the race, in the heart of Boston.

    In addition, Boston police have has surveillance video of someone bringing multiple backpacks to blast site, according to CBS News.

    Police also confirmed that there was a third explosion, at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. It was not immediately clear how much damage was done or whether it was related to the bombings at the marathon finish line.

    The library bombing occurred about 4:30 p.m. and more than a mile from the marathon.

    A law enforcement source confirmed to The Post that 12 people were killed and nearly 50 were injured in today’s blast.

    The Kennedy library/museum is nowhere even close to downtown.

  55. robro says

    Yeah, just like Timothy McVeigh or Eric Rudolph were itching to start a war, right?

    Yes, just like that. As I recall, McVeigh seemed to have thought he was already at war. Obviously they come in many stripes, but he wouldn’t be alone in that assumption. I know some good, upstanding Southern citizens who are ready to restart the Civil War because, you know, furrin’ Black Muslim president, worst ever, gun control, killing babies, straying from god…et al.

  56. gmacs says

    Oh, yeah. And Newtown families were in the VIP section at the race finish.

    Please tell me you are shitting us all.

  57. Christopher says

    Do not google too deeply for images. Traumatic amputation pictures makes me cry and want to hurl at the same time.

    Fuck these fuckers.

  58. says

    Oh no. My heart goes out to all those injured, the loved ones of the dead and all the workers dealing with the aftermath.

  59. Cuttlefish says

    NY Post appears to be the only source saying 12 deaths. Everywhere else says 2. Number of injured, of course, climbing.

  60. embraceyourinnercrone says

    gmacs @81 Unfortunately its true:

    http://www.theatlanticwire.com/national/2013/04/boston-marathons-final-mile-was-dedicated-newtown-victims/64250/

    There were also some parents of victims running in the marathon:

    “There was also a group of Newtown parents running as part of a group called Team Newtown Strong who were raising money for local charities.” (from the story at the Atlantic wire)

    http://www.ctpost.com/news/article/Pediatrician-on-Newtown-Strong-team-OK-4436009.php

  61. birgerjohansson says

    My two cents.
    Considering how many people were around the site and could potentially have been killed, and that no bombs went off when the most runners made it to the finish line, I would say these were “weak” home-built bombs on timers as distinct from high-yield devices with remote control detonators.

    There may be many more than twelwe dead, and yet the death toll would have been much higher with “professional” designs of bombs and detonators.
    So, probably not some big terror group.

    Best wishes to all, I hope the authorities will get information to the next of kin quickly so they are spared the extra torment of false hope.

  62. shouldbeworking says

    Conspiracy theorists are at work, islamophobes are calling for the deportation/arrest of Muslims, and scum have created twitter accounts to get donations for the victims. This is a sick world.

    I urge everyone who can to donate blood at your local Red Cross.

  63. The Mellow Monkey says

    I just heard on the radio that the Boston PD is saying they do not have a suspect in custody.

  64. ChasCPeterson says

    well, you can choose to trust the Boston police instead, I guess. One’s a bunch of journalists, the other a bunch of cops.

  65. says

    Never trust the New York Post.

    Indeed. I can’t imagine why anyone would treat them as a valid source of information.

  66. great1american1satan says

    Second what PZ said. We’re pretty far from reasonably pointing fingers, and that jerkass politician who brought North Korea into this needs a verbal spanking. As for the con men already taking “donations,” this sort of thing is why con men are my least favorite category of criminal. The fact they tend to get a lot of admiration (fictional depictions usually) tells me this country has some messed up values.

  67. leftwingfox says

    well, you can choose to trust the Boston police instead, I guess. One’s a bunch of journalists, the other a bunch of cops.

    Or you can look at the bulk of other media which have very similar casualty counts and reports, while the Post is an outlier. Excluded middle, dude.

  68. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Everyone realizes, of course, that the wheels have been set in motion for yet more stripping of constitutional rights, more police surveillance, and that it will be impossible to object to this without being accused of treason, right?

  69. trina says

    The police have probably rounded up everyone wearing a backpack and/or looking vaguely ‘furrin’.

  70. Sean Boyd says

    AFAIK, the hospitals treating victims have good trauma units. I’m hoping that makes the difference for those in critical condition right now. This is just too sad.

  71. ChasCPeterson says

    Excluded middle, dude.

    LOL. Everybody else is going with the official information they’re being fed by Boston PD. The Post is citing a “federal law enforcement official”.
    Which part do you think they’re lying about?

  72. ChasCPeterson says

    actually, that’s incorrect. They cite “a federal law enforcement source” for the 12 dead and “law enforcement sources” for the suspect under guard in a hospital (not ‘under arrest’).

  73. birgerjohansson says

    If limbs are cooled down, how long are they viable for reattachment? I assume it would first be a provisional patch-up, to restore blood circulation.

  74. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    Chas it’s the goddamn post.

  75. machintelligence says

    Live coverage in Boston says that cell phone communications in the area have been turned off. Cell phones have been used as triggers before.
    I think that tannerite, (a commonly available 2 part explosive) can be ruled out since it produces orange/brown smoke.

  76. zibble says

    @100 Josh

    Everyone realizes, of course, that the wheels have been set in motion for yet more stripping of constitutional rights, more police surveillance, and that it will be impossible to object to this without being accused of treason, right?

    Morbid as this is, it’s why I’ve really been hoping this is a domestic killer and not al Qaeda or anything similar. People are much less supportive of the idea of unconstitutionally harassing people who “look like” a terrorist when the terrorist looks like them.

  77. Christopher says

    If limbs are cooled down, how long are they viable for reattachment? I assume it would first be a provisional patch-up, to restore blood circulation.

    You can only expect reattachment to work if you are dealing with a fairly clean cut. These weren’t clean wounds.

  78. Sean Boyd says

    @100 Josh, Official SpokesGay,

    I’m trying to disagree with you. It’s not working very well.

    I’d add one thing, perhaps. MSNBC and CNN mentioned the large post-9/11 increase in cameras in the area, as well as in places like Times Square and so forth. If these cameras enable law enforcement to find the perpetrator(s) quickly, the argument will be made that this infringement on our rights is clearly warranted, because it works. Except they won’t use the phrase “infringement on our rights”, but rather “necessary security precautions” or some such.

  79. Alverant says

    @106
    As PZ pointed out about looking Mideastern, do you think it’s possible the person was just a spectator who got caught in the blast and is being “guarded” by police to prevent anyone from assuming Mideastern=terrorist and attacking him?

  80. Richard Smith says

    The library fire could very well be connected to the bombs, just not in any way conspiracists would accept. All it takes is, say, one staff member, upset and distracted by the news of the bombing and, say, something forgotten in the staff kitchen, and…fire. But what are the odds of something that mundane actually being connected to something so laden with conspiracy potential*? Let alone something even less bomb-related as faulty wiring, for instance, conveniently choosing today to ignite. There’s little a conspiracist hates more than a rational, unglamorous explanation.

    *Given the circumstances, I’d guess that the odds would actually be pretty good. Especially compared to any convoluted “just suppose” scenarios conspiracists would likely concoct.

  81. ChasCPeterson says

    I know all about the NY Post; I live within earshot of the LIRR commuter line and I check out the headlines every day at the 7-11. The editorial stance and style are of course repugnant.

    Nevertheless, I think the people they actually hire to report the news are a bunch of journalists, yeah. Who or what do you think they are? And why would they make shit up?
    Of course, it could be the “[federal] law enforcement source[s]” who are full of shit, or it could be that Boston PD is keeping a lid on as much as possible as long as possible. Maybe I watched The Wire too much.

    we’ll see.

  82. Ze Madmax says

    Josh, Official SpokesGay @ #100

    I would argue that given the fact that the U.S. has been increasing the police power of the State at the expense of individual liberties ever since 9/11 (and before, even), this doesn’t change much besides (maybe) speeding up the process some. In other words, this attack didn’t set any wheels in motion. At most, it greased already-moving wheels somewhat. No disagreement on the use of treason as a silencing tactic though.

    All in all, this is goddamn depressing.

  83. says

    My condolences to the families of the dead and my thoughts to the wounded (physically or psychologically) and their families.

    Also, the last thing the families of Newtown victims present at the race needed was another trauma.

  84. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    Chas do some damn skepticism. Not like they already didn’t get shit wrong

    But no all the reputable journalists are idiots and the police are lying and the post suddenly has high standards.

  85. Richard Smith says

    @nightshadequeen (#118):

    Red Cross person-finger

    A rather topical, if gruesome, typo.

  86. ChasCPeterson says

    L.A. Times sez: “A federal law enforcement officials [sic] said authorities were questioning a Saudi national who was taken to a Boston hospital with injuries. The person was not identified as a suspect.”

  87. Nakkustoppeli says

    Why would NY Post not publish information that’s not properly checked if they can do it before others? If they get it right it’s a scoop and if not, there’s no downside to them if they say it’s a muslim.

    I do agree that the police may have good reasons to keep information from the press at this point. On the other hand it will look good for them if they are able catch the perpetrator(s) quickly.

  88. Gregory Greenwood says

    I have been occupied all day, and have only just heard about this on the news when I caught the end of President Obama’s speech. Details are still sketchy, but apparently it was two explosions, two people dead and twenty two injured. The part of the statement I heard was carefully worded so as not to jump to any conclusions or point any fingers, saying that every effort would be made to bring the individual or group responsible to justice, which is reassuring since (so far) there seems to have been relatively little in the way of scaremongering or scapegoating on the part of the administration.

    Seeing smoke and choas on the streets of an American city had disturbing resonances*, even for a limey like me. Those poor people.

    I just hope that no more of the injured succumb to their wounds, and that those responsible are apprehended and taken off the streets to prevent them doing anything else like this.

    ————————————————————————————————————————

    * Wow – that sounds self absorbed now that I read it back. Of course, anything like this anywhere in the world is horrific beyond description and a terrible human tragedy.

  89. says

    Google is also hosting a doc for people willing to host stranded persons in Boston. If you have space and you’re in Boston, there’s another way you can help.

    Also, on the heart warming side of this, after the explosions many runners (who were uninjured) ran immediately to the nearest hospital to give blood.

  90. kemist, Dark Lord of the Sith says

    The police have probably rounded up everyone wearing a backpack and/or looking vaguely ‘furrin’.

    I’ve got two ‘furrin’ friends over there. I hope they were not on the site.

    They’re Indian, but from what different friends have told me about their experience in the US, I don’t expect the police to make any difference.

  91. Gregory Greenwood says

    Josh, Official SpokesGay @ 100;

    Everyone realizes, of course, that the wheels have been set in motion for yet more stripping of constitutional rights, more police surveillance, and that it will be impossible to object to this without being accused of treason, right?

    I would like to be able to say that I still hold out slim hope that, there being a Democrat in the White House rather than Shrub, perhaps we will not see the same repugnant scrabble to erode civil liberties and pass new rafts of oppressive laws that we saw post 9/11. Unfortunately, it sounds hollow in my own ears.

    I wish you weren’t right, but I fear that you are exhibiting the closest thing there is to prescience here. What would-be autocrat worth their salt would let such a golden opportunity pass them by…?

  92. ChasCPeterson says

    “Not identified as a suspect”

    yep, the key phrase.
    note that it’s not “The source said the person was not a suspect,” but rather “The person was not identified [by the source] as a suspect.” Do not doubt that the people who wrote and/or edited the sentence know the difference, even if you don’t.

    Am I claiming that no reporter for any newspaper anywhere ever made up an untruth and managed to get it published as news? no.
    Do I see it as likely in this case? no; it would be stupid and pointless to fabricate numbers and facts. My guess: somebody at the Post has an acquaintance in the FBI Boston office who agreed to speak off the record. And whose info may or may not be good.
    we’ll see.

    and, no, los federales are not ‘cops’.

  93. says

    Really, Chas? Really? This kind of thing happens and you’re here on the thread about it fighting about whether or not the NY Post is accurate?

    Dude, you want to fight about it, take it to Thunderdome.

  94. d.f.manno says

    @ChasCPeterson (#117):

    I know all about the NY Post; I live within earshot of the LIRR commuter line and I check out the headlines every day at the 7-11. The editorial stance and style are of course repugnant.

    Nevertheless, I think the people they actually hire to report the news are a bunch of journalists, yeah. Who or what do you think they are? And why would they make shit up?

    What do I think they are? Whores.

    Why would they make shit up? Because they know where their paychecks are coming from.

    If Murdoch says black is white, that will be the screamer head on the next day’s front page.

  95. nightshadequeen says

    Really, Chas? Really? This kind of thing happens and you’re here on the thread about it fighting about whether or not the NY Post is accurate?

    Dude, you want to fight about it, take it to Thunderdome.

    Thank you, mouthyb

    @d.f.manno

    What do I think they are? Whores.

    Please, knock it off with the sexist language today.

  96. gmacs says

    A guy being interviewed on NPR who was on the scene and is a veteran said he smelled cordite.

  97. d.f.manno says

    @ nightshadequeen (#142):

    @d.f.manno

    What do I think they are? Whores.

    Please, knock it off with the sexist language today.

    One of the definitions of “whore” is “A person considered as having compromised principles for personal gain.”

  98. nightshadequeen says

    d.f.manno

    I neither have the time or energy to argue with you today; please take it to the Thunderdome.

  99. says

    Also, the whole reason why “whore” has that meaning is because of the long history of denigrating and insulting sex workers. It’s like arguing that the N word isn’t racist because “one of the definitions is ‘people with dark skin/of African descent’.”

  100. ChasCPeterson says

    This kind of thing happens and you’re here on the thread about it fighting about whether or not the NY Post is accurate?
    Dude, you want to fight about it, take it to Thunderdome.

    um, “fighting”? I have merely responded to people who addressed me directly on the subject, mouthy b. How come you’re not biting their heads off? Would you like a list of the people who thought it worthwhile to sneer at me (teh ECO included) merely for pointing out what was being reported at a newspaper they find politically distasteful? ffs.

  101. raven says

    I see the trolls are now here.

    I guess nothing is too serious or gruesome not to get trolled to death.

    It’s too bad they aren’t very interesting though.

  102. burgundy says

    What’s even the point of fighting over sources this soon? It doesn’t matter if someone’s deliberately lying, it doesn’t matter if the anonymous source is federal or local… no one knows shit right now. How long did it take after Sandy Hook for anyone (press or law enforcement) to even point the finger at the correct Lanza brother? I don’t expect a coherent and reasonably accurate account until at least tomorrow. Until then all I’ll be doing is saying “fuck. Fuck goddamn” and feeling awful for all the people involved.

  103. Lofty says

    Heartfelt tears for the victims of the bombs in Boston. I hope this is not an excuse for another war.

  104. raven says

    At least two are dead and more than 100 reportedly injured after two explosions occurred at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

    It’s getting worse as time goes on.

    105 are reported wounded.

  105. Alverant says

    #152
    I don’t want to defend CNN, but this was a terror attack and the President should have said so. He didn’t but to me it’s not worth fussing over. But consider this, if he did call it a terror attack and it turned out the terrorist was a right-wing christian then we have the President calling a christian a terrorist. That’s not going to go over too well with a lot of people. Yeah, who cares what they think but this President has a habit of not trying to offend the other side of the aisle. I don’t like it, but I can see the reasoning behind it.

  106. Tsu Dho Nimh says

    @107 … If limbs are cooled down, how long are they viable for reattachment? I assume it would first be a provisional patch-up, to restore blood circulation.

    A couple of hours, but in the case of a traumatic explosive amputation, there’s usually too much tissue damage to get a good reattachment.

    However, should you ever have to use this information : after you make sure the person isn’t bleeding to death, put the severed parts in a clean plastic bag and float it in ice-water if you have and send it with them in the ambulance.

  107. DLC says

    Regarding International vs Domestic Terrorism: I don’t care if it was little green men from planet Zaytox.
    As for the effect of the bomb and relative “professionalism” of the bombers : the IRA, no noobs when it comes to bombing things, often used cheap bombs made from materials available at any grocery or hardware store, and managed to be quite effective. The number of casualties involved is oftentimes a matter of luck.
    But let’s wait and see who gets arrested for what.
    Based on video of the explosion, it looks like a small size bomb, probably less than 5 lbs, probably a low explosive such as black powder. I don’t think it’s more than a pipe bomb, and I really don’t think there was pre-packed shrapnel, or there would have been much more in the way of deaths in that large crowd.
    ______________________________
    Josh OSG@ 100: Yes, I’m sure there will be a further push toward the “Security State” from this.

  108. says

    @DLC, #161:

    I keep having this nightmare idea that this was some jackass who wanted to surprise everyone with homemade fireworks, but was too stupid to make them properly or even to test them, and sometime tomorrow we’ll be treated to the spectacle of some idiot on TV unable to look anyone in the eye murmuring “I didn’t mean to hurt anyone”. Certainly the times I’ve read about the sort of person who is inclined that way, the story ends with stuff along these lines.

    Don’t know if that would actually be better or worse than the alternatives, really.

  109. ck says

    I don’t want to defend CNN, but this was a terror attack and the President should have said so.

    Was anything of value lost by taking the cautious approach? I’d argue that nothing of value was lost except political capital, which is a horrible currency to base morality around. In fact, since the word “terrorist” has become synonymous with Muslim in American media, I’d say that he was well advised to steer clear of it until blame can be assigned to avoid inflaming anti-Muslim sentiment.

    What if he had called it terrorism, and it had actually been a tragic accident instead of an attack? First, it would be used against him constantly. Secondly, it would still be used as if it were a terror attack to harm the chosen enemy du jour, regardless of the fact it wasn’t one.

    So, I’m going to say that being cautious with that word was a good thing.

  110. throwaway, extra beefy super queasy says

    Until we have the intent of the perpetrator(s), this is and should remain a bombing and mass-murder attempt, not terrorism. Terrorism hinges upon political motivations and using violence against civilians to affect positive political outcomes for the group (even if the goal is the destruction of the Federal government.) The President was, once again, right in not calling it terrorism.

  111. gobi's sockpuppet's meatpuppet says

    The FBI are classing this as a criminal investigation with the potential of being a terrorist investigation. There has now been a press conference by the relevant authorities who have released the information that they are able to.

  112. unclefrogy says

    on one here knows anything other tan “what I read in the papers” or some authority releases to the public. regardless of what we may think. if we ever know more it will not be within hours or even days.\
    I am 3k miles away it might as well be on the moon right now. We will know more about this than we know about most of what happens in the middle east because it is here but maybe not.
    The one thing you can be sure of everyone will make the most that can be made out of this as is possible. They will cover it obsessively saying the same thing over and over and over for far to long without adding any new information.
    The news “sellers” will try to out do themselves competing for scoops.
    the event is stupid terrible and ugly.
    The coverage and the “press releases” statements by politicians and law enforcement officials the interviews with victims and “first responders” will be compete, pointless and obvious.
    There will be little journalism practiced no editing and little real informative creative writing done mostly raw data and when this story subsides from the spotlight we will likely know little more than we know right now generally. Just like the fact that there are still people who think that Gitmo still has the “worst of the worst”.
    fuck!

    uncle frogy

  113. says

    Jesus Christ. Really? We can’t check the official story instead of relying on the goddamned Post?

    Boston PD says that they have not taken anyone into custody. https://twitter.com/Boston_Police/status/323962521159618560

    According to MSNBC just now, police talked to a 20 year old Saudi man who was in the hospital with burns, but he is not a suspect and they have not arrested him. Gee whiz, is it really that shocking that the cops would focus on a brown dude, since you know terrorist = not white?

  114. cicely (mumblemumble-SomethingHalf-Witty-mumblemumble) says

    Remember, after OKC we were told the suspect was brown-skinned and middle-eastern looking, and the police even announced that they were searching for a person matching that description. There are still wackos who insist there was a “third terrorist” and a middle-eastern connections.

    Which is why my third thought (right after, “Oh, shit, no!”, and sorrow and sympathy for the victims and bystanders) was, “And now all rise for the traditional Throwing Out of the Scapegoats”.

    I don’t want to defend CNN, but this was a terror attack and the President should have said so.

    A problem with that is that, for a regretably large chunk of the USAian populace, “terror attack/terrorist” equals “Muslim”—and those are the same people who can be counted on to do stupid things like throw bombs into mosques, attack businesses owned/run by people of Middle Eastern descent, and attack people of Middle Eastern (or perceived Middle Eastern) descent, without bothering to ask questions, of any sort.
    -

  115. Cuttlefish says

    Source, PZ?

    No that I doubt it… but I’m watching Boston news, and I’ve not seen that yet. (My Sister in law is saying there are lots of embedded BB’s, but she also has no sources.).

  116. Ulysses says

    Source, PZ?

    CNN:

    Doctors are “pulling ball bearings out of people in the emergency room,” the expert said, suggesting the bombs were designed to propel shrapnel.

  117. gobi's sockpuppet's meatpuppet says

    ABC here in OZ are also reporting BBs, but again no direct source. I am hesitant to accept anything as fact unless it comes from the mouth of an official. Too much conjecture trying to fill the vacuum…

  118. shouldbeworking says

    Westboro BC has tweeted that it is gawd’s revenge on America. Eric Rush has ‘joked’ that all Muslims should be killed. There are some really sick people in the USA.

  119. nightshadequeen says

    (I don’t know how to link to specific tweets)

    Cambridge PD’s reporting random searches on the T (the Boston Metro) tomorrow.

  120. DLC says

    Police and Federal authorities will of course be interviewing everyone who was close by. It should be noted that the “are seeking a Saudi national” business came entirely out of the news media, and in fact, the person interviewed was one of the victims.
    Let’s not fall prey to rumor-mongering and panic.

  121. says

    Cambridge PD’s reporting random searches on the T (the Boston Metro) tomorrow.

    Which makes so much sense! It’s not like the bombers might do something sneaky, like, say, not carry around evidence on their person, or even get out of Boston entirely to avoid any possible identification. No, as we all know from countless works of fiction, the criminals always return to the scene of the crime! If this action wasn’t absolutely guaranteed to work, they could simply monitor the bomb sites and arrest everyone who walks or drives past!

    In related news, the horses from the mounted squad escaped today. Cambridge P.D. has announced plans to “close the barn door” tomorrow.

  122. raven says

    Westboro BC has tweeted that it is gawd’s revenge on America. Eric Rush has ‘joked’ that all Muslims should be killed. There are some really sick people in the USA.

    The traditional throwing out of the scapegoats has already begun.

    1. It’s a matter of time until someone blames the atheists.

    2. And the gays.

    Then the usual suspects will ramble on how god has withdrawn his hand of protection from America because we didn’t do what they wanted us to.

  123. Cuttlefish says

    Thanks (again), Ulysses @#174.

    Watching Boston news… again and again, stories of the kindness of strangers.

    It’s really beautiful and wonderful. But still… what I wouldn’t give for the usual, boring, same-as-last-year report on the Boston Marathon.

    Damn.

  124. FossilFishy(Anti-Vulcanist) says

    I don’t grieve for the dead, their pain and suffering is now past. I grieve for the living, all the living.

    I grieve for the ‘wounded’, there’s so much suffering packed into those two syllables. Physical pain, emotional trauma and years and years and years of suffering can come from surviving such a thing.

    I grieve for the uninjured bystanders. They have no shelter from the reality of the random dumb chance that meant they came away unbloodied. Their injuries will not be obvious to casual inspection.

    I grieve for the victim’s loved ones. They too will struggle to deal with this, and often their trauma will go unrecognised and unmitigated.

    I grieve for the first responders. At the end of the day they have to put down their tools, let slip the professional armor and somehow come to terms with human cost of all they’ve seen.

    The blast radius of these bombs radiates outwards far beyond the zone of shrapnel and flame, diminishing as it goes perhaps, but there’s no way to tell when and where the ripples and reflections will peak. The harm isn’t over, it’s only just beginning.

  125. jstock says

    Jesus is a no show again. He’s cowarding again in the corner. Come on dude….help out !

  126. says

    Anyone else think this is going to be the next Benghazi? By which I mean, that if something is reported early on and then revised, we will never hear the end of it from the conspiracy crew? I am just stunned that anyone could preform such an act, and have the sneaking fear that I will be angered by the reactions that follow.

  127. zaoldyeck says

    I don’t think this can be another Benghazi. Even if there were early warnings, ultimate responsibility for the security of the Boston Marathon is still going to be the Boston mayoral office, or the governer. It’s not like security for a federal consulate, who is ultimatly under the direct control of the state department.

  128. says

    According to MSNBC just now, police talked to a 20 year old Saudi man who was in the hospital with burns, but he is not a suspect and they have not arrested him. Gee whiz, is it really that shocking that the cops would focus on a brown dude, since you know terrorist = not white?

    I’d be shocked if the cops didn’t talk to every victim in every hospital (everyone who could talk, that is); they all are, if nothing else, witnesses. But of course, the one whose interview makes the papers is the Saudi man. <sigh>

  129. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Yes. Let’s talk about “security” and “responsibility.” Let’s have a grand investigation into Who Didn’t Have Enough Clairvoyance To Protect the AMERICAN PEOPLE. Then we can move on to ALL THE NEW SECURITY MEASURES NECESSARY TO PROTECT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE THAT WE LEARNED FROM OUR NEW LEARNINGS TODAY.

    Fuck it all.

  130. klarr7 says

    My young kids saw/heard some of these reports, and a friend sent me a bit of Mr. Rogers help for them:

    “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”

    The cowards will always be [insert perjorative here], but the goodness of so many, many people — just people — gives me hope.

  131. Badland says

    I can’t help but think: three dead in domestic bombings = MASSIVE SECURITY OVERHAUL

    26 dead in school shooting = DON’T U DARE TOUCH MAH GUNS

    I don’t for a second mean to diminish what happened in either case, but it does throw the responses into stark contrast

  132. indicus says

    Badland, regardless of any individual’s view towards guns and gun control, the calculation here is obvious. No one in a position of power seriously believes that randomly searching backpacks tomorrow will do anything to protect anyone. Assuming a second wave is in the making, the chances ANYONE would be stupid enough to pull it off in the exact same way is unlikely in the extreme. In a decade of anti-terrorism ‘security’, all new procedures were implemented to protect from the previous attack or attempted attack and would have been useless to protect from the next one. So not to put too fine a point on it, security measures put in place soon after attacks have little to nothing to do with security and have everything to do with the APPEARANCE of security. That is, allow the politicians and bureaucrats to look like they are doing something and thus remain relevant and able to keep their comfortable jobs. On the other hand, even if one concedes that massive new gun control efforts would reduce shootings (it won’t), it would substantially anger the electorate, thus threatening job security and the over-ridding focus of politicians everywhere.

  133. nightshadequeen says

    To put the random searches on the T in context:

    Usually, they pretty much don’t care what you take on it. I’ve carried (at various times): large amounts of wood, paint, boxes of screws, etc. Some of my friends bought a cart of bagels – literally hundreds of bagels – on the T.

    No one cared.

  134. magistramarla says

    I’ve been clicking back and forth between this thread and the commentary in the Texas newspaper that I read. (Boy, do I dread moving back there next month!)
    The skepticism and (mostly) calm search for the truth here is refreshing.
    Over there, one commenter said something to the effect that “a raghead” had been arrested and that “lynching” needed to be brought back. He said that he hoped that the guy wouldn’t be allowed to continue to live like the “Hussein” that shot up Ft. Hood.
    It made me sick to read that. I wonder just how common his feelings are in this country?
    Sometimes I despair for this country.

  135. raven says

    Sometimes I despair for this country.

    Sometimes???

    What is your secret for not despairing all the time?

  136. says

    Ben P @ 55:

    The only amounts I have ever seen for sale of black powder (and its substitutes) or more powerful smokeless powders were 1 pound canisters for black powder and 1 pound or 8 pound canisters for smokeless. Either way…. a few ounces of powder inside a 2″ iron pipe “nipple” and a couple of screw on iron end caps is all that is needed for bombs of this scale. In most states the powder can be bought mail-order. The nipple and end caps from the local Home Depot. Loose ball bearings are actually slightly more difficult to come by.

    While it is certainly possible* to “mark” and trace powders down to the lot number. The amount of retail units (1lb or 8lb) per lot is huge. It is certainly within the capabilities of the authorities to trace the powder to the manufacturer of the powder. They would then have to check with every retailer and mail-order retailer in the country. If the bomber were the least bit careful it will be pretty easy for them to obscure their tracks.

    *There has been some discussion of “marking” powders in order to make them traceable over the years but as far as I know (only my opinion) very little has actually been done about it. It is also pretty easy to circumvent by using imported surplus ammunition and pulling the bullets for the powder.

    Some reports say the authorities have found one or more unexploded bombs. I think they will get far more useful leads from those than any residues from the bombs that detonated.

  137. bad Jim says

    Just speculating: if the bombs were hidden in trash containers (and how else could they have avoided notice?) the shrapnel could have come from the containers or the trash as well as the bombs themselves.

    It’s hard to guess the identity of the bombers; tax day seems like an obvious occasion for right wingers, but there is no shortage of provocation for jihadists; we seem to be blowing up civilians in Afghanistan and Pakistan pretty regularly. It could just be a local capitalizing on the attention around the marathon.

  138. indicus says

    I hesitate to guess at who is responsible until more (or some) information is available, but at this point I would shy away from right-wingers and towards jihadis. The reason is simple. Attacks by the former have virtually always been directed at targets that, in some way, represent specifically what they are pissed at… the Federal government, gays, abortion, etc. It is hard to tie a marathon to any source of their bitching in particular. Its too random. It doesn’t allow for a political message. For those motivated by religious lunacy however, an infidel is an infidel and so any bodies anywhere represent a success in their calculations. I guess we will find out soon enough.

  139. bad Jim says

    Sorry about the speculation; it isn’t plausible that anything like ball bearings could be accidental. It also seems that backpacks were ubiquitous and might have gone unnoticed; apparently some fleeing bystanders abandoned their backpacks, forcing the police to treat each as a potential bomb.

    It’s a mark of my ignorance that I find it hard to believe that a pipe bomb could have done as much damage as these explosions did. I’m also puzzled by the report that the police used a water cannon to detonate a third bomb. At this point much of the news is likely to be wrong.

  140. Cyranothe2nd, ladyporn afficianado says

    In unrelated*
    news, 31 people died in Iraq today.

    At least 31 people have been killed and more than 200 others wounded in a series of early-morning explosions in cities across Iraq, officials say.

    Attacks were reported in Baghdad, as well as Tuz Khurmatu and Kirkuk in the north and Nasariyah in the south.

    The co-ordinated attacks occurred during the morning rush hour and mainly involved car bombs.

    Source

    *I really mean that. I’m not trying to start shit. The world is a fucked up place and death happens all over. :(

  141. Akira MacKenzie says

    zaoldyeck @ 187

    I don’t think this can be another Benghazi.

    That isn’t going to the stop the right-wingers from invoking it. When I got home from work about an hour ago, the first thing my conservative, Drudge-and-Breibart-consuming father said on the matter was how Obama was going to pull a “Benghazi cover up,” and frame the Tea Party for the bombing.

    Whatever happens and whoever was responsible, expect the political shitstorm over this to be epic.

  142. launcespeed says

    bad Jim @ 200

    The “water cannon” might turn out to be a “projected water disruptor”.

  143. nightshadequeen says

    …..is it wrong that seeing all the reports of praying for Boston is making me irrationally angry?

    No, people, please donate blood. Or money. Or do something more useful.

  144. bad Jim says

    Thanks, launcespeed. From Wikipedia:

    Projected water disruptors use a water projectile shaped charge to destroy bombs, severing any detonating cord.

    This wouldn’t detonate a bomb, though. Perhaps the reporter misunderstood.

  145. says

    The water disruptors can cause detonations. But even when they don’t, it’s not a gentle, quiet procedure. So your average bystander could very well interpret it as a detonation. And often even law enforcement casually refer to it as such. Explosive ordinance disposal techs are usually much more precise in their language.

  146. says

    please donate blood

    Dunno how it’s going this time around, but I seem to remember that after the attacks in 2001, people in and outside NYC/DC were so desperate to do anything to help that blood collection agencies ended up getting way too much blood, and most of it went to waste, because the number of injured people who actually needed it was relatively small. I’m seeing reports of 134 injured, which is quite a lot for a single incident, but it’s still a drop in the bucket in terms of our country’s daily blood needs.

    So I’d say, please check with your local Red Cross or other donation agency before you rush to donate, and see if they actually need any more donors right at this moment. I know when I scheduled my own regular appointment last weekend they were saying they were a bit short at the time, but I’d be willing to bet that that’s *already* been fixed in the aftermath of this event. So it might be better to schedule something a few weeks out when the immediate surge has gone down, so that your donation is actually useful and you don’t just contribute to straining the agency’s resources.

    Being a little cautious with monetary or other donations for a little bit is probably a good idea as well. In part this is because anything that’s presenting itself too quickly in the aftermath may well be a scam. (I’ve already seen mention of such.) But also, just as with blood donations, the reality is that 134 injured + 3 dead is not really that many people out of a whole nation, and the needs are not likely to be anywhere near as big as what’s likely to be on offer from a whole country’s worth of people who want to do something, anything to help. If you have to do something Right Now and can’t wait for the most professional agencies to assess the actual specific needs for this event, directing your donations to a more ongoing but less prominent need might be the best use of your money.

    As far as I can tell, the reality is that there’s probably not actually a hell of a lot that can be done directly to help by those of us who aren’t Boston area first responders/medical professionals or friends of the families of those affected. Seems to me the best response is probably to just stay the hell out of the way of the people who can help, while in the meantime doing our best within our own social circles to squelch any precipitous and misdirected speculation and blaming that we hear other people engaging in. (Of course, clumsy attempts to help are still probably better than the outright malice that some commentators are already showing…)

  147. says

    Indicus @ 199: The attacks of September 11 2001 were very specifically targeted. What could be bigger symbols that two of the largest office complexes in the world. The WTC towers and the Pentagon. I think the other target was to be the Capitol Building or the Whitehouse.

  148. bad Jim says

    As a former engineer I find it hard not to speculate, despite my ignorance of explosives. I wonder that no one yet has identified the explosives by their smell. Anyone who’s used fireworks knows what black powder smells like, and anyone who’s fired a gun knows what that smells like. I’d imagine that recent veterans know the smell of RDX (the explosive ingredient in C4 and in many of the IED’s used in Iraq, I believe). So it goes. Humans are apt to miss the things that any dog would notice.

  149. says

    bad jim @ 200

    It’s a mark of my ignorance that I find it hard to believe that a pipe bomb could have done as much damage as these explosions did.

    Anecdote here: During an EOD/Bomb Squad demonstration I watched a ~200lb truck tire get blown 70-80 feet into the air by 1lb of black powder, which is a typical pipe-bomb/IED material. It also left a three foot diameter by one foot deep crater in the hard packed dirt. 1lb of black powder is about the size of a baseball.
    I will not be surprised if these turn out to have been crude devices using nothing more exotic than several pounds of black powder and BBs.

  150. says

    In reference to my post at #212: Thinking about it, my estimate of the tire’s weight is based on experience with tires of similar size and shape, which could be way off the actual weight if the tire was constructed differently than those I was comparing it to. Nonetheless, it was a striking demonstration of the energy in a measly 1lb of black powder.

  151. DLC says

    re “water disruptor” — it’s a shot of water propelled by a shotgun shell sized explosive charge. the water slug thus formed knocks the end off pipe bombs, or (attempts to) separate the detonator or blasting cap from the main body of explosive. It doesn’t always work, which is why they prefer to take the device to a bomb range before trying it, but in extreme cases they’ll shoot one in a built up area, if not doing so is more dangerous than doing it.
    Still have to wait to see who did it, but right now I’m leaning domestic terrorism.

  152. bad Jim says

    Thanks, tajparis. My experience with black powder never got beyond an M-80. Since several pounds would fit into a backpack or something that could hide in a trash container, there doesn’t seem to be any point in speculating about the explosive.

  153. yubal says

    you should donate blood 2-3 times a year or how often your health permits it. Every year. Those people can stockpile it and use it when needed. That is why god created freezers after all.

    I feel disgusted about this incident. Somebody tries to kill as many people as possible at a peaceful fun competition event. For the sake of a message you were not able to communicate else?? why not kill yourself instead?

    The last mile of the marathon was dedicated to the Newtown victims. It is unknown how many relatives/friends of the Newtown victims were at the scene and were among the victims of this bomb. Just the idea about this to could have happened hurts, badly.

  154. says

    @ yubal

    The last mile of the marathon was dedicated to the Newtown victims. It is unknown how many relatives/friends of the Newtown victims were at the scene and were among the victims of this bomb. Just the idea about this to could have happened hurts, badly.

    I could not have imagined worse than what had happened already. Yet now this! :'(

  155. Old At Heart says

    Well, that sucks. Big time. Both this bombing and the middle-east one.

    I’m feeling old, jaded. Death. Injury. The injury is really worse. All in all, that’s surprisingly few deaths, see that news post about the middle east bombings today above somewhere for how death tolls can happen from these in much greater numbers, but still, those injured… I bet if they’re running the Marathon, they won’t have medical insurance that covers acts of terrorism, so the insurance agencies are waiting with baited breath on the ruling there. A missing limb is a lot of money, and they’ve got over a hundred wounded. It may seem crass, but its something none of you are thinking of, the “everyone injured here is losing their house if they have one” after effects.

    I think the worse part is the randomness, as alluded to by an above poster. We don’t “react” to shooters murdering classmates, or to carbombs in Afghanistan, or missiles to Palestine, because that’s just what those places DO. Shooters were bullied, car bombers were religious zealots, missiles were religious zealots, it all fits nicely in our minds’ compartments, with neat little (impossible) solutions like “remove bullying” or “cease religious extremism”, while this is just random right now. No box to put it in. People want it to be terrorism because then there is a reason. They don’t want to conceptualize that people, humans, are just destructive sometimes, murderous, for no good reason. Even though right now that is a similarly likely theory.

    But ball bearing bombs? Those don’t kill. They incapacitate. This was designed to wound, not to rack up body count. There are far more effective ways to rack up kills. In a crowd that size, a commercially available machine gun would do. This was professional, meant for causing terror (and technically therefore a terrorist, barring modern definitions) to create unrest, not to kill. Who knows yet who did it, but they did send a message: They wish to torture, to wound, to maim. They are without compassion. They need a psych ward internment.

  156. Ragutis says

    It’s kind of hard to sleep after seeing a pic of someone with bloody, bare tibias sticking out of what’s left of their pants. As someone being interviewed said, the gruesomeness of the scene was like something from “The Walking Dead”.

    Who the hell let the Info Wars idiot into Gov. Patrick’s press conference?

  157. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    An evil act and a horrible result. Some predictable responses both good (onlookers, emergency services) and bad (Eric Rush, Westboro, see #176). Speculation about motive is tempting but pointless. Latest from the BBC:

    At a second news conference he [Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis] said the death toll now stood at three. He said that no suspects were in custody.

    A search thought to be related to the inquiry was under way at a flat in a Boston suburb, Boston media reported.

    Police said a search warrant was issued on Monday in the Revere district but provided no further details.

    The White House and security experts are being cautious as to whether domestic terrorist groups or jihadists were behind the attacks, says the BBC’s security correspondent, Gordon Correra, in Washington.

    The device itself is thought to be fairly crude and there is a very clear focus on finding the evidence rather than speculating, he adds.

  158. thumper1990 says

    Now reported as 3 dead, 144 injured, 17 of whom are in a critical condition. Two bombs at the race c. 100m apart, the incident at the library has been confirmed as an unrelated fire.

    Fuck fuck fuckedy fucking fuck.

  159. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    Clarifying #222, I mean speculation about motive is pointless at present, because there’s not enough to go on.

  160. sadaq says

    I’ve been lurking Pharyngula for about a year, and I feel now is the time to speak up.

    If my memory serves, 6 ounces of coarse-grain black powder will throw a 12-pound cast iron ball 1000 yards @ 600-800 feet per second. Its regarded as a “low-yield” explosive, but it still pack a punch.

    Also, a Claymore mine is filled with ball bearings, and its designed to kill at 50 yards, and wound out to 250. Its filled with 680 grams of C-4. Using this as a baseline, if a pound or so of BP and ball bearings was used, I’m not surprised at the casualty figures.

    Still depressed and unable to sleep, though.

  161. says

    My experience with black powder never got beyond an M-80.

    Typically, M-80s contain potassium perchlorate/powdered aluminum flash powder, not black powder.

  162. Akira MacKenzie says

    nightshadequeen @ 206

    …is it wrong that seeing all the reports of praying for Boston is making me irrationally angry?

    Irrationality tends to be the reaction to events like this. By now, I’m sure everyone has seen what I’m sure will be the iconic image of this tragedy: a woman, stricken with panic and grief at the horror unfolding around her, kneeling in front of a barricades with her hands folded in prayer. My own reaction was to shake my head sadly and wonder if this woman has even considered that if the omnipotent and omnibenevolent deity she was invoking was real, why would it allow such a thing to happen? On the other hand, prayer maybe the only thing in her terror and sadness that she can think to do, which I suppose speaks volumes on the human condition.

    Part of me thinks: It’s too soon to be dredging up the matter of theodicy. People are still shock over this. Give it week, then address the “problem of evil” and ask the faithful where their god was when those bombs went off. The other part of me, cynical and realistic (sorry for the redundancy), reminds me that the Bible-beaters aren’t going to give this a rest while America collects it’s wits. They’re going to us this attack to preach, proselytize, witness, convert, and shame us into doing whatever it is they want us to do. If the theists aren’t going to shut up, then neither should the atheists.

    I’m too tired to decide myself, right now. All I know is that I need a coffee, a bagel, and a few hours of quiet. I’ll let you know after that.

  163. nich says

    Part of me is waiting for a “this is what happens when you try to regulate guns”…

    If it hasn’t happened already…

    See like the second comment in this thread. Maybe not exactly what you mean but damn close.

  164. ChasCPeterson says

    We can’t check the official story instead of relying on the goddamned Post?
    Boston PD says that they have not taken anyone into custody.
    According to MSNBC just now, police talked to a 20 year old Saudi man who was in the hospital with burns, but he is not a suspect and they have not arrested him. Gee whiz, is it really that shocking that the cops would focus on a brown dude, since you know terrorist = not white?

    Yes, let’s focus on the “official story”, the tidbits that BPD spokescops are offering in official press conferences. Bou some of you folks need to brush up on your reading comprehension to make sense of the copshit.
    > “not in custody” because the guy’s in the hospital under heavy guard instead.
    > “not a suspect” because they prefer to use the phrase “person of interest”. If there’s an important difference, I don’t know what it is. (Note that calling the guy a “suspect” is the only (putative) error made in the Posts‘s early reports; they have now added the modifier “potential”.)
    > they not only questioned the guy, but also obtained a search warrant for his apartment in Revere, and the FBI (not just BPD) turned it upside down. But he’s not a “suspect”, see.
    > there are reasons besides his nation of origin that makes the guy a susp- person of interest. Shit the cops know and you (and I) don’t. Media reports this morning have the guy running from the scene and acting suspiciously enough to be tackled by a bystander (sure, the bystander could have acted out of racism to some degree–but we don’t know that). He reportedly smelled of gunpowder, had burns and shrapnel wounds to (the back of) his legs, and is quoted as saying “I thought there would be a second bomb” and asking “did anyone die?”

    Now these latter reports could turn out to be false or misleading. But in a case where this guy is the only lead (of which the public is aware), dismissing his, uh, questioning under heavy guard as obviously mere racism is irrational.
    Around here, when people are irrational, it almost always means they are permitting their political ideology to trump their critical thinking and reading skills. So go ahead and “lean toward domestic terrorism” if it makes you feel better, but don’t think for a second that you’re being reasonable if you automatically believe MSNBC over the NY Post (in terms of news coverage. You’re not.

    p.s. to mouthyb, Vagina McTits: Please stop trying to tell me what to do. You are not a deputized threadcop; nor are you my mom. If you don’t like my commentary, killfile me, I don’t give a fuck. But you have zero standing to order me to the Thunderdome. Zero. Fuck off.

  165. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    Chas@229,

    Where are you getting those details – e.g. that the flat searched is that of the Saudi national?

  166. ButchKitties says

    The water disruptors can cause detonations. But even when they don’t, it’s not a gentle, quiet procedure.

    I’m pretty sure this is what was used to disarm the pipe bombs my old neighbor had been building in his basement. To my untrained ears it sounded like an explosion, or at the very least it sounded like something very heavy (like a large truck) being dropped onto the lawn.

    We actually had a sheriff come to our house and ask us to stay away from the windows, especially those on the side of the house facing the neighbor’s place. Apparently there was a chance that, even if everything went perfectly, it might shatter all our windows.

  167. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    Either I’m blind or that article does not state who the apartment belongs to.

    Watch the video, while not exactly clear it seems as if John Miller is claiming the Saudi is the person whose apt they searched.

  168. says

    Chas, it seems to me there’s a reason why “copshit” is deliberately vague. The cops in this case may have reasons to suspect the Saudi guy was involved, but they clearly don’t have enough yet to publicly declare him a suspect or charge him, or they would. And if the people most in the know aren’t confident in that declaration yet, I’d say the rest of us definitely shouldn’t be either.

    As far as I can tell, there simply aren’t enough publicly available facts to be certain about much of anything at this point, so I personally prefer to make like a skeptic and reserve judgment, so that I don’t make an idiot out of myself or harm someone innocent by jumping to a wrong conclusion based on sketchy and preliminary evidence. Isn’t that what we’d prefer that everybody on all sides be doing at this point?

  169. indicus says

    David @ 209 I wasn’t implying that no Islamic terror attacks are launched with specific targets in mind and in fact most are. But when you have an attack that does not have any readily obvious specific target, as in the case of Boston, it seems likely that a broader ‘reason’ (for lack of a better word) is at work. An attack on a marathon seems likely to have been launched with the intent of causing mass casualties, not striking a blow against a given individual or organization or group. Home-grown right-wing terror has virtually always been launched against some SPECIFIC identified ‘threat’… government, blacks, Jews, gays, take your pick. Random mass casualty attacks around the world more often have a religious current to them… Shia killing Sunni, Muslim killing infidel, Hindu killing Muslim, etc, etc.

    Crissa @ 219 I think the supposed links to tax day/patriot’s day are kinda loose. More likely, the answer is that it was a large and well attended event with the potential for many casualties which just happened to fall on those days. Not that I would rule anything out at this point… any mentality that holds the deaths of 19 children as ‘collateral damage’ (OKC) is capable of just about anything. As to the link you posted, a MLK parade represents a very specific target for a white supremacist (blacks). As to a connection to the Newtown victims, this seems even less likely. Plenty of screaming has been done against ‘Obama the socialist’ and the rest ‘coming to take our guns’ but I don’t recall much vitriol being directed against the survivors themselves.

  170. says

    Thanks Rev. However, this just makes me more confused. The video clip and article seems to be saying very different things, both regarding the apartment and also about how the man was apprehended.

    I guess we just have to wait a while for the dust to settle.

  171. says

    The police did not necessarily focus on the Arabian in hospital. It was announced that police went to hospitals with all the victims in hopes of correlating all the eye-witness information they can as soon as they can.

    I am reading rumors of five other devices located.

  172. thumper1990 says

    Seconding Anna C. Hanna, here. How about we let the cops do their job and drop the speculation?

    This is why I hate early news reports after these sort of things.

  173. ChasCPeterson says

    The cops in this case may have reasons to suspect the Saudi guy was involved, but they clearly don’t have enough yet to publicly declare him a suspect or charge him, or they would. And if the people most in the know aren’t confident in that declaration yet, I’d say the rest of us definitely shouldn’t be either.

    Agreed. The term “suspect” was used–apparently erroneously*–by the NY Post reporter or their source. I don’t think anybody–certainly not me–has intended to impute guilt yet.

    *however, ‘suspect’ does not mean ‘arrested’.

  174. ChasCPeterson says

    words words words. ‘kipedia:

    Possibly because of the misuse of suspect to mean perpetrator, police in the early 21st century began to use person of interest, possible suspect, and even possible person of interest, to mean suspect.

    Under the judicial systems of the U.S., once a decision is approved to arrest a suspect, or bind him over for trial, either by a prosecutor issuing an information, a grand jury issuing a true bill or indictment, or a judge issuing an arrest warrant, the suspect can then be properly called a defendant, or the accused. Only after being convicted is the suspect properly called the perpetrator.

  175. ChasCPeterson says

    Either I’m blind or that article does not state who the apartment belongs to.

    The text has been updated (evidently a couple of times) since I linked the page. Note that at the moment (1:52 EST) the reference to “The man being questioned…” is a non sequitur, as he was not previously mentioned in the current version. When I linked it earlier it tied him directly to the searched apartment.

    A reporter on NPR this morning even said the guy’s roommate had been interviewed and denied involvement.

  176. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    Yeah CHas, everyone is nlinded by ideology around here all the time but you.

    You’re a shit Chas, and not as half as smart and the objective superman you think you are.

    You’re a complete and utter asshole

  177. ChasCPeterson says

    Now the ABC article reads:

    CBS News senior correspondent John Miller reports the man being questioned is a Saudi national currently under guard at an area hospital. However, sources tell CBS News correspondent Bob Orr that so far, the man is not even considered to be a person of interest.

    But apparently that last sentence has no meaning.

  178. says

    Chas, glad you’re not trying to impute guilt yet, but even trying to derive too much meaning from these very vague early statements still kind of makes me uncomfortable. The specific definitions (or, in some cases, lack of definition) of the words being used by the law enforcement sources are academically interesting, but as far as figuring out what actually happened in Boston, I’d rather not rely too heavily on dictionary parsing. There are too many ways that can be misleading.

    There will be actual facts soon enough, and I’d rather wait for those. In the meantime, I’m just glad that Obama seems to be taking the attitude that, “The American people refuse to be terrorized.” I hope the rest of the country will follow suit. I’d really rather not live through a repeat of the post-2001 bullshit.

  179. carlie says

    So the guy is being held under guard and is not free to leave, yet he is not a person of interest. I’d rather the “not a person of interest” part be a lie than to have yet another example of detainment without reason.

  180. says

    But is he being detained? Or is he simply in the hospital and the police have put a guard on his door to make sure that we don’t have some self-styled patriot coming along to take out the “terrorist”?

  181. daniellavine says

    @Chas:

    You are, in fact, being a pretty big asshole about this. For no apparent reason that I can see except that you don’t like “losing” arguments. (I don’t think I’ve ever seen you admit to being wrong.)

    Why the fuck would you ever believe a Murdoch outlet report that takes an Islamophobic angle when there are many other more reliable sources that fail to confirm or contradict it?

    No thinking person would. Any thinking person would be really fucking skeptical if Fox News and the NY Post report something like that early on in a tragedy when so many details are still up on the air.

    You got fooled. You got pulled in by bog-standard Murdochian Islamophobic propaganda. You swallowed irresponsible scapegoating “journalism” hook, line, and sinker.

    Is the Boston PD a reliable source of information? Not particularly but they do have some vested interest in having the public trust them. They’re certainly not a worse source of information than clearly-biased news publications. Yes, “journalists this, journalists that”. Ignoring the fact that journalists as a class aren’t guaranteed to be uniformly ethical any more than the police are it’s fucking editors who decide what gets printed, not the journalists, and we know the editorial slant at the Post already.

    You should be ashamed of yourself as should anyone else who’s already blaming “right wingers” or “tax protesters” at this point.

  182. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    I’d bet the guards are for 2 reasons:

    1. They can’t rule him out as a suspect without due diligence b/c people would almost literally lose their heads if the public found out that they’d had a muslim in their control and let him get away if either a) it turns out the guy did it, or b) no perp is definitively found, leaving people free to assume the guy did it. So they are giving in to the expected community fear of muslims because their careers mean more than the guy being treated appropriately.

    and
    2. They had to talk to him, because they had to talk to everyone who was at the scene. But having talked to him, it was inevitably going to get out that cops had interviewed a guy from Saudi, 20 years old, who is an honest believer in Islam. The same public fear of muslims that justifies the CYA reaction in #1 generates a reasonable inference that the guy might be in danger from violent, prejudiced jerks who think the US is at war with every muslim person anywhere.

    By rationalizing the CYA motive with reference to “the guy needs to be protected and investigated to the extent we can actually say ‘he didn’t do it’ instead of just, ‘we don’t have evidence that he did’ so that he’s protected until we can make it clear he’s innocent” motive, they can imagine themselves good folk, looking out even for the despised, without questioning the public fear of muslims that is such a part of the US right now.

    It may turn out that the guy did it – I don’t know. But the purpose of terrorists is to do things publicly. If the guy did it, it’s very likely that he would confess. (at least that he did it, very possibly not how & with whom, etc.) If they had a confession, I think that they would arrest him.

    So, I think it’s a logical inference that he didn’t confess, and a slightly shakier, but still logical inference that he didn’t do it – at least, if he did, he wasn’t a terrorist trying to make a public statement [but then, why would he do that?]

    So, again, we don’t have enough info to say who did it, but I think that there are plainly reasons for the detention. We don’t know, it may even be that he’s not in a medical condition to leave. We’ll see in the next day or two. After OKC we had descriptions of suspects that were not at all like McVeigh & Nichols. We also had that security guard, Richard someone, that got blamed for Eric Randall Rudolph’s Atlanta Olympics bomb.

    this is all too rambling. I guess I’m trying to say that they could be honest about the “not a person of interest” b/c very good reasons, and yet in the climate of fear in which we live, want to test his belongings for explosive residue and guard him until that’s done.

  183. daniellavine says

    (Not to mention the fact that if the BPD did have a suspect all their incentives would go towards publicizing this fact, not lying to say they didn’t. The only thing Chas has said here that makes any fucking sense is “maybe I’ve been watching the Wire too much”.)

  184. Maureen Brian says

    Let us try to learn from experience.

    In the wake of the 7/7 bombings in London, among the many hundreds of people questioned by the police was an Egyptian man who lived in the area of fairly cheap housing adjacent to Leeds University where Mohammed Siddique Khan both lived and worked and had had some contact with one of the bombers. Apart from the Egyptian bit that description must apply to more than 100 people. Each had to be interviewed and to be eliminated from involvement in the plot.

    Except that by the time the police were willing to go public with the outline of the story this man had been eviscerated, spatchcocked and flame-grilled by the media. I’m afraid I don’t know what happened to him later. Was he able to complete the PhD he was doing somewhere else? Was he able to use the work already done at some other university. Or is he sitting on a front step somewhere regretting a career ruined because he once spoke to someone who later turned out to be a bomber?

    We don’t know, Chas, whether this Saudi man even exists. As others have pointed out the sources are dodgy. If he does exist, why can you not credit some perfectly normal explanation – he still needs hospital care, he is not well enough yet to be questioned fully, he is being guarded either from a random passing Islamophobe or some nutter has announced that he has a divine mission to kill this guy who is, after all slightly brown and of Muslim heritage.

    That’s enough to get you condemned and killed, is it? Not if we want to deal effectively with terrorism it’s not.

    I expect to see you back here, Chas, when the matter is resolved to acknowledge your own prejudice and to agree that you should have let the FBI get on with their job before you resolved it all with your magic insight.

  185. says

    I’m just watching CNN and they say that a Saudi man was wounded in the blast but is not a suspect, that he was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Dozens of people fled when the bombs went off. That is not an indication of guilt. It’s echoed here.

  186. says

    A Congressman from Massachusetts says to look at the symbols attacked: a race with massive international participation and Tax day.

    The Boston Marathon is the oldest marathon in the country, he said, with runners coming to compete from more than 100 nations. “So it’s that kind of symbol that a terrorist would look at,” he said. “And also, it’s Tax Day. It’s April 15th, and if it’s a domestic terrorist that hates the government and wants to rebel, that’s a symbol as well.”

    From a law enforcement perspective, it is important not to jump to conclusions, he said. “Being a former DA, you only know what you know. And they’re sorting those things out.”

    I can see which way the wind is blowing.

  187. ChasCPeterson says

    Washington Post:

    U.S. law enforcement officials said Tuesday that a Saudi national injured in the Boston Marathon bombing is regarded as a witness, not a suspect. The Saudi, who is recuperating at a Boston hospital, is in his 20s and is in the United States on a Saudi scholarship to study at a university in the Boston area. The federal officials’ explanation echoed comments by a Saudi official at the country’s embassy in Washington. The embassy official said that a Saudi national has been questioned as a witness but is not regarded as a suspect. The Saudi official cited information provided to the embassy by U.S. law enforcement officials. … The official said the victim is cooperating with U.S. investigators and granted permission for his Boston area apartment to be searched.

    Which means that after the questioning and search, they no longer think he might have done it.
    That’s fine, that’s how investigative procedure works. That doesn’t change the fact that the last time I commented about the guy people were still saying shit like this:

    John Miller, a CBS News special correspondent and a former assistant director at the FBI, said Tuesday morning the latest focus continues to be “that apartment in Revere, on the person of interest that they’ve been interviewing since the bombing.”
    Miller explained that the Revere search warrant is part of the same probe as the questioning of a Saudi national who was hospitalized after the attack.
    “All of that is the same,” Miller said. “The Saudi national is … here on a student visa. He was at the scene along with many other people when the blast happened. As everybody is standing in shock, three Boston PD detectives see this guy moving quickly out of the crowd. As they’re watching him, he seems to be moving very deliberately away — which could be a very natural thing after a bombing — they stop him because he’s covered with blood … they think he may be injured…they engage him, they start asking questions … there are things about his responses that made them uncomfortable, so they arranged to get him to the hospital.
    They stayed with him. The FBI has come along, they’re talking to him. So he’s somebody that they’re really interested in.”

    maureenbrian:

    We don’t know, Chas, whether this Saudi man even exists.

    No? Here are some pictures of the guy. OK?

    If he does exist, why can you not credit some perfectly normal explanation – he still needs hospital care, he is not well enough yet to be questioned fully, he is being guarded either from a random passing Islamophobe or some nutter has announced that he has a divine mission to kill this guy who is, after all slightly brown and of Muslim heritage.

    um, because those are all made-up fantasies out of your own head, whereas I merely re-reported what other, professional news journalists, were reporting. See the difference?
    What alternative explanation do you think I was crediting? I said he was being questioned as a [potential] suspect, and he was. *shrug*

    That’s enough to get you condemned and killed, is it? Not if we want to deal effectively with terrorism it’s not.

    What? Who are you talking to, and what about? As for me, I never even hinted at condemning, let alone killing, the guy.

    I expect to see you back here, Chas, when the matter is resolved to acknowledge your own prejudice and to agree that you should have let the FBI get on with their job before you resolved it all with your magic insight.

    Jesus fuck, can you people read? I never even once imputed guilt to the guy, never even once said anything to indicate I thought anything was “resolved”, by any means. Let me quote one of my own comments, as far as I know the only speculation I have made: “somebody at the Post has an acquaintance in the FBI Boston office who agreed to speak off the record. And whose info may or may not be good. we’ll see.” Does that sound like I think I have some kind of magic insight or think I have “resolved” anything? I mean, WTF?

    As for my “prejudice”?
    Fuck. You.
    You think I wouldnt be just as interested if the guy happened to be from Arkansas or Luxembourg?

    You know, I’m willing to argue with people who seejm to be making some effort to understand the words I choose to type and post, but you assholes are too involved in projecting your own politically based preconceptions. It’s another kind of prejudice, and it’s fucking tiresome.

  188. ChasCPeterson says

    if the BPD did have a suspect all their incentives would go towards publicizing this fact, not lying to say they didn’t.

    Now here‘s somebody who evidently thinks they have magic insight.
    The fuck do you know about the inner workings of the BPD command and public-affairs bureaucracies??

  189. says

    So, apparently the “Saudi Arabian possibly a suspect” was someone who had recently moved to Boston, was watching the race for the first time, was burned by the explosion, and fled along with dozens of others. He was promptly tackled for Fleeing While Brown.

    A law enforcement source told CBS: ‘They see him running away from the device. Now, a reasonable person would be running away. But this person had noticed him before. This is a civilian — chases him down, tackles him, turns him over to the Boston police.

    ‘The individual is being looked at [and] was suffering from burn injury. That means this person was pretty close to wherever this blast went off, but not so close as to suffer the serious injuries that other people did.’

  190. ChasCPeterson says

    You got fooled. You got pulled in by bog-standard Murdochian Islamophobic propaganda. You swallowed irresponsible scapegoating “journalism” hook, line, and sinker.

    Yeah? Explain. How was I fooled? As far as I know everything I re-reported about the guy has checked out, with the exception of the pseudo-official designation as a “suspect”. Or is (correctly) identifying the guy who was questioned and subject to search of his premises as Saudi Islamophobic? If they (and therefore I) reported instead that he was from fucking Indiana would that be Hoosierophobic?

    Is the Boston PD a reliable source of information? Not particularly but they do have some vested interest in having the public trust them.

    Which is exactly why they are being much more cautious and circumspect about releasing information than off-the-record sources have been. It’s no surprise they’re mostly interested in covering their asses in the early going.

    They’re certainly not a worse source of information than clearly-biased news publications…it’s fucking editors who decide what gets printed, not the journalists, and we know the editorial slant at the Post already.

    *shrug* I disagree. In this case it seems to me that the motive for the BPD to obfuscate (not lie; I never accused them of lying) is stronger than the motive of the NY Post to lie (which is exactly what people accused them of). Sure, editors (and, alhtough I doubt it, reporters at the Post spin shit and omit shit. As I mentioned, I have plenty of first-hand experience with the Post (more than, say PZ Myers has). But as far as I know they have never just made shit up.

    You should be ashamed of yourself as should anyone else who’s already blaming “right wingers” or “tax protesters” at this point.

    Bite me, asshole. I haven’t blamed anybody.

  191. ChasCPeterson says

    apparently the “Saudi Arabian possibly a suspect” was someone who had recently moved to Boston, was watching the race for the first time, was burned by the explosion, and fled along with dozens of others. He was promptly tackled for Fleeing While Brown.

    assumes facts not in evidence.
    And even if true on the part of the tackler, his answers to the initial police questions were weird enough for the cops to take him to the hospital for treatment and further questioning.
    Who should have done something different?

  192. says

    Well, I’m glad we’re sorting out the really important stuff, like establishing that Chas is never wrong. Or, you know, hardly ever.

  193. Christopher says

    The thing that boggles my mind is that I can’t see a logical reason for any group or person to think bombing a marathon makes a good statement. Pretty much all terrorist actions have a blatent symbolic meaning beyond just people dying. Killing and destruction makes sense to the bombers. McVeigh had a rational (to him) target, Kaczynski had rational (to him) targets, the twin towers were rational choices to be effigies to US imperialism, Brevik had rationally chosen targets. Where is the rationality for hitting a marathon in any given extremist ideology?

    I think this is one reason why people have latched on to the false flag explination, but if it were a true false flag, the chosen script would be floated very quickly after the action in order to dominate the news cycle. What we are seeing now is the slow, methodical police work that comes from not knowing the answer before hand.

    I guess there is always the option that the bomber had no deep symbolic meaning to their actions and were just for the killing and noteriety. It’s not like we have had a dearth of these kind of folks in recent US history, from the beltway snipers to the recent school shootings, but nhilist bombers just aren’t that intelectually satisfying…

  194. daniellavine says

    @Chas:

    Yeah? Explain. How was I fooled?

    You jumped in offering the NY Post story as if it was even remotely credible.

    It wasn’t.

    Here’s the process:
    1. Google “boston bombing”.
    2. Note that theblaze.com, breitbart.com, fox news, and the NY Post were all reporting on a “Saudi national suspect.”
    3. This one’s important: Look for confirmation from a source that does not share the previously mentioned outlets’ disregard for facts and clear editorial bias.
    4. Find none.
    5. Conclude that the report is not credible and wait for more credible reports.

    The fuck do you know about the inner workings of the BPD command and public-affairs bureaucracies??

    I know that making an arrest a few hours after a crime looks really good and helps police departments get good PR and funding. I’m just applying simple common sense.

    Now what’s your explanation for why the Boston PD would arrest this guy and then lie about it. No excuses — this is exactly what you asserted yesterday. That the NY Post is a totally credible news source and that the Boston PD cannot be trusted about anything. What possible motivation would the BPD have to lie about having a suspect in custody? If you’re watching so much of “The Wire” I guess it has to be three layers deep and involve 18 different characters, right?

    *shrug* I disagree. In this case it seems to me that the motive for the BPD to obfuscate (not lie; I never accused them of lying)

    YES. YOU. DID. NY Post claims they have a suspect. You trumpet that as unproblematic and credible reportage (which it’s clearly not, but whatever). BPD tweets NO SUSPECTS. You say something to the effect of: whatevs, can’t trust the fucking po.

    You claim the BPD claimed the opposite of what you believed to be the truth. That is an accusation of a lie. BPD says something and you deny it is true. Accusation of a lie. This is really simple stuff, here, Chas.

    is stronger than the motive of the NY Post to lie (which is exactly what people accused them of).

    Actually, the Post has a pretty clear history of playing fast and loose with facts in order to bolster their preferred editorial slant. You yourself admitted that they are not the most credible news source. Least of all when they’re playing up an Islamophobic angle that is being echoed throughout the right wing media machine and no so much as mentioned anywhere else.

    Bite me, asshole. I haven’t blamed anybody.

    Never said you did, shit stain. I said you credulously swallowed clearly biased reporting. And you did. Own up to that fact and stop looking like a fucking fool already.

  195. daniellavine says

    Did I say reporting that a Saudi national was being questioned would be Islamophobic? No, I didn’t.

    I did say that the only news outlet reporting on the “Saudi national suspect in custody” were outlets with an Islamophobic editorial slant that was established long before the attacks yesterday and that this is what made such reports less than credible.

    And sure enough such outlets engaged in some really irresponsible reporting by prematurely implicating a Saudi person — reporting the interactions with police as much more serious than they were. (Detained for questioning is quite a bit different from arrested as a suspect, Chas, however much you try to play down and lawyer this distinction.)

    There’s a grayish/pinkish mass of jelly somewhere inside your cranium. Try using it. You can keep trying to wiggle out of your laughable credulity on this one but it’s not going to work.

  196. vaiyt says

    How was I fooled? As far as I know everything I re-reported about the guy has checked out, with the exception of the pseudo-official designation as a “suspect”.

    As it turns out, whether the guy is a suspect or not is a very important thing. You were erroneously made to believe something incorrect – that’s the very definition of “fooled”.

    If they (and therefore I) reported instead that he was from fucking Indiana would that be Hoosierophobic?

    Come on, Chas. You’ve been here longer than me, and you think making arguments as if context doesn’t exist will fly?

  197. Christopher says

    The reasoning behind bombing the marathon is probably much like the reasoning behind bombing the Olympics.

    Probably. But even in that case, Rudolph’s other bombing targets fit logically into his ideology. Plus it was the Olympics, the Boston Marathon might be big for marathons, but it is not Olympics big. Of all the soft targets out there, the Boston Marathon just seems to be the oddest choice for any of the ususal suspects…

  198. says

    Hmmm…

    As to a connection to the Newtown victims, this seems even less likely. Plenty of screaming has been done against ‘Obama the socialist’ and the rest ‘coming to take our guns’ but I don’t recall much vitriol being directed against the survivors themselves.

    Well, I suppose you weren’t here in CT while they were being harassed by truther-style conspiracy theorists, heckled when they testified before a legislative task force, and threatened with a WBC presence at their children’s funerals. And that was before they amped up their activism in lobbying both the CT General Assembly and the U.S. Senate.

    I agree with everyone who’s saying there’s not enough evidence to speculate about motive yet, but you can’t help what pops into your head, and what popped into my head when I heard Newtown families were in the stands was a chilling fear that they were the targets.

    And the second thing that popped into my head was all the times pro-gun advocates have said to me, in the course of an argument, “gun control won’t work, because there are other ways to do mass killings.” In some cases, they specifically mentioned bombs.

    We don’t know who did this, or why… but since it’s happened and can’t be undone, I find myself hoping that the perpetrators turn out to be homegrown right-wing extremists, rather than foreign terrorists: If there’s a foreign angle, I fear the jingoism and warmongering that will follow; if it’s one of our own, maybe a few more relatively sane USAnian conservatives will wake up to the kind of people they’re allied with.

    At least I hope they’ll wake up. I believe what Patton Oswalt wrote on Facebook yesterday…

    So when you spot violence, or bigotry, or intolerance or fear or just garden-variety misogyny, hatred or ignorance, just look it in the eye and think, “The good outnumber you, and we always will.”

    …but some days the thread of belief is awful thin.

  199. glodson says

    Of all the soft targets out there, the Boston Marathon just seems to be the oddest choice for any of the ususal suspects…

    Sadly, it makes sense. It is both a nationally covered and internationally covered event. Anyone with an agenda would be attracted to that. It is an easier venue to plant your devices, it isn’t like trying to smuggle the devices into Fenway Park. And, if this turns out to be a domestic terror attack, the date is important as well. Both Tax Day and Boston’s celebration of Patriot’s Day.

    It is stomach turning to even consider. But for one who thinks that murdering and maiming people is a good idea, this attack makes sense in that light. Lots of people, open environment, lots of media coverage already, and significant date: the prefect storm for the murderous idiots.

  200. says

    So far as the motivation to target the Boston Marathon, if you think about it from the perspective of a perpetrator from the local area it makes a very logical target. As a though experiment, imagine someone with a limited set of resources but an unlimited desire to hurt other people in a spectacular manner. If this person was within close proximity to Boston, the marathon would seem like an ideal target of opportunity. Here’s a very larget event to target that allows the perp to lay low, be relatively inconspicuous while assembling the materials and putting together the plot.

    It may not necessarily be anything represented by the marathon that the perp was targeting. It may have just been the closest major event, and being an event that happens only once per year, one that was sure to have a higher level of publicity than something more mundane like a ballgame. Also, choosing an even larger event would likely entail travel, more expense, and possibly even more opportunity to get caught before hand. This person may not have had the means and opportunity to target something larger or something that is more representative of the message they wanted to send. Or maybe there was no message, they just wanted to kill and this was as good a place to do it as any other in their mind.

    **On an unrelated note: how the eff does one get line breaks between paragraphs here; I’ve tried all the usual HTML Fu that I know. :-/ **

  201. Pteryxx says

    via BB (bombed while brown):

    The Saudi Marathon Man

    “There must be enough evidence to keep him there,” Andrew Napolitano said on “Fox and Friends”—“there” being the hospital. “They must be learning information which is of a suspicious nature,” Steve Doocy interjected. “If he was clearly innocent, would they have been able to search his house?” Napolitano thought that a judge would take any reason at a moment like this, but there had to be “something”—maybe he appeared “deceitful.” As Mediaite pointed out, Megyn Kelly put a slight break on it (as she has been known to do) by asking if there might have been some “racial profiling,” but then, after a round of speculation about his visa (Napolitano: “Was he a real student, or was that a front?”), she asked, “What’s the story on his ability to lawyer up?”

    By Tuesday afternoon, the fever had broken. Report after report said that he was a witness, not a suspect. “He was just at the wrong place at the wrong time,” a “U.S. official” told CNN. (So were a lot of people at the marathon.) Even Fox News reported that he’d been “ruled out.” At a press conference, Governor Deval Patrick spoke, not so obliquely, about being careful not to treat “categories of people in uncharitable ways.”

    see also Crommunist citing Glen Greenwald:

    One continually encountered yesterday expressions of dread and fear from Arabs and Muslims around the world that the attacker would be either or both. That’s because they know that all members of their religious or ethnic group will be blamed, or worse, if that turns out to be the case. That’s true even though leading Muslim-American groups such as CAIR harshly condemned the attack (as they always do) and urged support for the victims, including blood donations. One tweeter, referencing the earthquake that hit Iran this morning, satirized this collective mindset by writing: “Please don’t be a Muslim plate tectonic activity.”

    As understandable as it is, that’s just sad to witness. No other group reacts with that level of fear to these kinds of incidents, because no other group has similar cause to fear that they will all be hated or targeted for the acts of isolated, unrepresentative individuals. A similar dynamic has long prevailed in the domestic crime context: when the perpetrators of notorious crimes turned out to be African-American, the entire community usually paid a collective price. But the unique and well-grounded dread that hundreds of millions of law-abiding, peaceful Muslims and Arabs around the world have about the prospect that this attack in Boston was perpetrated by a Muslim highlights the climate of fear that has been created for and imposed on them over the last decade.

  202. thumper1990 says

    For fuck sake Chas!

    I kept quiet while you spouted off yesterday, but then News Sources were directly contradicting you and you still wouldn’t accept you chose a shitty source? I don’t know why you were so adamate you were on to something; it could be Islamophobia, or simply wanting (needing?) an explanation or a suspect to blame, or maybe you just wanted to look smarter than everyone else; quite frankly I don’t care. What matters is you had no evidence to back up your assertions, were really obnoxious in defending them, and still haven’t apologised.

    You fucked up. Own it already.

  203. Christopher says

    http://www.boston.com/metrodesk/2013/04/17/boston-medical-center-reports-five-year-old-boy-critical-condition-victims-treated-from-boston-marathon-bombings/gkKXBTqL2jyNhsC2Kz5GyO/story.html

    An official briefed on the Boston Marathon bombing investigation said today that authorities have an image of a suspect carrying, and perhaps dropping, a black bag at the second bombing scene on Boylston Street, outside of the Forum restaurant.

    Investigators are “very close” in the investigation, said the official, who declined to be named.

    That official said authorities may publicize their finding as early as this afternoon.

  204. daniellavine says

    Christopher@285:

    Thanks for the correction/sanity. I guess I need to stop looking for news on this for another couple days at least.

  205. Christopher says

    Don’t feel bad. It doesn’t seem like anyone really knows what is going on and all the news media is watching eachother’s twitter streams for leads.

    Current scuttlebut is that they are looking for a white male with a black or grey hoodie and a white baseball cap on backwards.

  206. daniellavine says

    Current scuttlebut is that they are looking for a white male with a black or grey hoodie and a white baseball cap on backwards.

    Between BU, BC, Suffolk, MIT, Tufts, Harvard, and Emerson that’s like half the metro area.

  207. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    CNN sucks.

    Listening to them fall all over themselves would be entertaining in different circumstances

  208. Christopher says

    Something crazy is going down at the Federal Courthouse:

    There are heavily armed police on the scene; all civilians have been moved across the street.
    by Teresa Hanafin, Boston.com 12:07 PM

    Employees and other court officials are streaming out of the Moakley Courthouse, located on the South Boston waterfront.
    by Teresa Hanafin, Boston.com 12:06 PM

    There is heavy security surrounding the federal courthouse and the building is being evacuated.
    by Teresa Hanafin, Boston.com 12:06 PM

  209. Christopher says

    Channel 7 says the courthouse evacuation was because of a bomb threat.
    by Teresa Hanafin, Boston.com 12:33 PM

  210. ChasCPeterson says

    For fuck sake Chas!…You fucked up. Own it already.

    What? Seriously, what? It was true! I think it turned out to be a pretty nice piece of real-time journalism on the part of the NY Post. They stuck to the story until it was confirmed at about the same time by Fox News and the LA Times, whereas the Other News Sources that you prefer were simply going with the information provided by police spokestypes. If you know how to read critically, they didn’t even contradict anything.
    I really don’t understand what unevidenced assertions you think I defended obnoxiously enough to require apology. Quotes would be preferable to vague generalizations; thanks.

    By the way, if folks would like to see a real example of spreading unconfirmed rumors from uncertain sources, look no further than how the same news was reported over in the Lounge.

  211. ChasCPeterson says

    daniallavine@#266:

    [me, asking for it, I guess:] Yeah? Explain. How was I fooled?

    You jumped in offering the NY Post story as if it was even remotely credible.

    Yes. Because I thought it was. And look: it all turned out to be true. so how was I fooled?

    Here’s the process:

    The process for what? Thinking like daniellavine-on-the-internet? I have my own process, dude. Here, I’ll annotate:

    1. Google “boston bombing”.
    2. Note that theblaze.com, breitbart.com, fox news, and the NY Post were all reporting on a “Saudi national suspect.”

    2.5. Note further that theblaze.com, breitbart.com, and fox news cite the NY Post as their source, and that the NY Post cites an unnamed law-enforcement official.

    3. This one’s important: Look for confirmation from a source that does not share the previously mentioned outlets’ disregard for facts and clear editorial bias.

    3.5. Consider that editorial bias and disregard for (certain) facts are not the same thing as making up shit that is not true and publishing it during an ongoing real-time-breaking series of events.

    4. Find none.

    4.5 http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2013/04/15/boston-terror/comment-page-1/#comment-603183 oops

    5. Conclude that the report is not credible and wait for more credible reports.

    *shrug* It rang true to me, and in fact turned out to be true. What do you mean by ‘credible’?

    Now what’s your explanation for why the Boston PD would arrest this guy and then lie about it. No excuses — this is exactly what you asserted yesterday.

    Bullshit. Quote me, or admit lying.
    I never said there had been an arrest. Never. Why? Because the sources I was reporting from never said that either. And I also never said BPD lied. I did, however, translate their boilerplate word-lawyering, correctly as it turns out.

    That the NY Post is a totally credible news source and that the Boston PD cannot be trusted about anything.

    More falsehoods on your part, dude. I never asserted either one.

    What possible motivation would the BPD have to lie about having a suspect in custody?

    They didn’t lie. They word-lawyered. See above. That’s what they do. Or are you denying that at the same time the PD spokestype said that they had a guy under guard in the hospital with the FBI there (or on the way)? Because they did, you know. That’s been established.
    They refused to use the term ‘suspect’ even while obtaining a federal search warrant and grilling the guy’s roommate. Do you know why? Because they never use the word “suspect,” as a matter of policy.

    [me, truthfully:] I haven’t blamed anybody.

    Never said you did, shit stain. I said you credulously swallowed clearly biased reporting.

    Liar. Or can you not even read your own shit for comprehension? Here, from your #253:

    You should be ashamed of yourself as should anyone else who’s already blaming “right wingers” or “tax protesters” at this point.

    [hint: the word "else" is the tell.]

    outlets engaged in some really irresponsible reporting by prematurely implicating a Saudi person — reporting the interactions with police as much more serious than they were. (Detained for questioning is quite a bit different from arrested as a suspect, Chas, however much you try to play down and lawyer this distinction.)

    Prematurely implicating? They reported facts! But, aha, you have no idea what the word “suspect” means, that’s your problem. ‘Detained for questioning’ could be a suspect, or not. It depends whether the detainee is suspected of participation in a crime or is instead a possible witness. ‘Arrested’ means not a ‘suspect’ anymore, but rather ‘accused’. A ‘suspect’ is somebody who is suspected of participation. What you do with a suspect is investigate further. If you have enough evidence, you accuse/arrest the person. If not enough, but suspicion remains, still a suspect. If no evidence, the suspect is cleared and released, as happened in this case.
    But note again that, precisely because of confusion like yours, police almost never even use the word ‘suspect’ publicly anymore.
    This is not playing down or lawyering; it’s understanding.

    There’s a grayish/pinkish mass of jelly somewhere inside your cranium. Try using it. You can keep trying to wiggle out of your laughable credulity on this one but it’s not going to work.

    Aaaaand have a nice day!

    vaiyt:

    As it turns out, whether the guy is a suspect or not is a very important thing. You were…made to believe something incorrect

    Explain. Use the term “suspect” correctly in your answer. I’m talking about actions and statements, you’re apparently talking about semantics.

    You’ve been here longer than me, and you think making arguments as if context doesn’t exist will fly?

    I know context exists. What I do not know, and neither do you or anybody else, is to what degree racism/Islamophobia actually played a role in this case interms of why the guy was investigated and how and by whom it was reported.
    What I do know, and my point in the bit you quoted, was that my re-reporting here on what the Post (and later others) reported, correctly as it turns out, was in no way interpretable as racism or islamophobia. i.e., I would have been just as interested in the developing news of a suspect no matter who it was.
    In fact, I reported here that a suspect had been IDed before I knew the guy was Saudi; check the comments above and see.

    Hey, Chas, this is for you.

    It’s misdirected, Ms. Cutter. I made no attempt to argue about any of the trivialities discussed there. Perhaps you meant to direct that to the many people who were speculating on the type of explosive and the possible motives stuff like that right here in this same thread?

  212. thumper1990 says

    @Chas

    Not according to Sky News at 8:46am UK, Thursday 18 April 2013.

    It comes as police said no-one has been arrested over Monday’s bombings, despite reports in the US media that a suspect was in custody.

    The Associated Press earlier claimed a law enforcement official had said a person was detained and was set to be taken to the local federal court.

    Other media outlets also reported an arrest. But the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the US attorney’s office in Boston and the police disputed that.

    “Despite reports to the contrary there has not been an arrest in the Marathon attack,” the Boston police department said on Twitter.

    The FBI also said there had been “no arrests made,” urging the media to “exercise caution”.

    However, I should apologise for jumping into an argument that was not mine and immediately shouting. Yesterday was a baaaaad day, and I was more aggressive than I needed to be. Sorry.

  213. ChasCPeterson says

    To clarify: neither I nor the New York Post ever claimed there had been an arrest in the case of the Saudi guy, which is the only case I have been talking about.
    Apparently false news reports of a (different) arrest were aired later, but you’ll have to ask BigDumbChiump where he heard it.