I was up last night until almost daylight, obsessively watching the news, waiting for the break I knew would be coming any moment. As soon as I heard there had been explosions in Watertown, MA, amid the sustained gunfight, I knew the killing of that cop at M.I.T. was not a random crime, that law enforcement was closing in on the suspects from Monday's bombing. The journalist in me was taking notes.
But what really kept me up and glued to the news channels and live blogs and Twitter updates is the fact that my daughter is in that city, and I was on Google drawing up maps to calculate how far away Watertown is from where she was staying. Not far.
I have an overactive imagination on the best days, so last night I was focusing my thoughts like a laser to draw a cone of safety around my girl, so that she would not wander out in the daylight, innocently for breakfast perhaps, and get caught in crossfire.
She will be fine. That is the energy I am sending out. I am concentrating on it. She will be fine and her friends who go to school in Boston will be fine and that city will be healed.
The suspect they are looking for is 19 years old, the same age as my daughter. Such a child! What on earth got so twisted for him and his 26-year-old brother, who died at the scene of last night's gunfight, an IED strapped to his body? They are Chechen born, their family came to the United States soon after 9/11, they lived in Cambridge a block or so from Harvard, their parents split up a few years ago and moved back to Russia, leaving both boys alone. The older brother may or may not have been part of a cell of non-Arabic-speaking Islamic Jihadists. The little brother is said to have hero-worshipped the older one. At least one teacher described the 19-year-old as "a lovely boy."
I do not understand, though, not even when I apply my contortionist imagination, what they hoped to accomplish with their bombs.
Update: They found the second suspected bomber, cornered him hiding in a back yard boat as evening fell on Friday. All day he had huddled under the boat's tarp, until at last police took him into custody, possibly saving his life. By then he was too weak to resist arrest and bleeding almost to death from gunshot wounds in his neck and leg. The lockdown was over, the city rejoiced. But in Watertown, MA, even as the residents cheered the long line of police cruisers pulling out of the neighborhood in a light show parade, when the TV cameras zoomed in close, all eyes looked pensive, bewildered, sad.