Friday, April 19, 2013

Shelter in place

My attention this morning is, of course, on Boston, where my daughter is visiting this week, waking up slow in a city on lockdown. She will shelter in place in the university dorm where she is staying.

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.


  1. No. We cannot imagine. Random and, to us, senseless.
    Your daughter will be safe. But oh, this has got to be so hard on you, Angella. I wish you weren't going through this. I wish no one was but because I know you and your daughter, in some way true, I wish it especially for you and for yours.

  2. I just heard the news, and learned more coming here. Your daughter wiill be safe. My god how you must feel.
    I schooled and lived in Boston for 6 years. Nothing ever like this.
    love you
    xoxo dd

  3. I've been glued to the TV and the internet, watching and reading about this tragedy.
    I'd forgotten that your daughter was attending college there. I'll be including your girl in my prayers, as well as the people working on this case and all of Boston. And Texas. So much sadness in this world.
    BUT, your beautiful girl will be safe!!!!
    Sendin you lots of love, my friend.

  4. Oh, I feel your pain because I know how we can worry on a good day.

    The events in Boston have me overwhelmed. I trust and I know your daughter will be safe. She's smart, and the good guys are closing in on the young, unfathomable bad guy.

    I'm wondering what you think about Texas? Having been too close to several massive chemical explosions and fires in my career, I can't rule out human error but the timing seems suspect. Of course sink holes are swallowing us in the midwest and the Gulf Coast, and our rivers are overflowed here, so I'm beginning to just accept that the world is a very tricky place and I can't think about all of it at once, it's just too much. Today, I've turned off the news for a bit and rearranged the pictures on my mantle, my coffee tables and found some distraction with playing with my things, including my piano. Cheap therapy.

    Wishing you a worry free heart, and us all a more peaceful world.

  5. WOOHOOO!!!! Take a deep breath, my friend!! He's off the streets!!!! Captured!!!!

  6. it was such a frightening situation.

  7. It's going to be fascinating to hear what their motivation could have been -- though I suspect we'll still have lots of unanswered questions no matter what. I cannot understand why well-liked young men who had everything to gain from living here would have done such a thing. But it sounds like they've had a turbulent family life and the older one, particularly, was definitely struggling with "fitting in" in America. Even if they never saw battle in Chechnya, they must carry the scars of those wars, the displacement and alienation that results from repeated relocation. It's a horrible, sad situation all around.

  8. yes: "all eyes looked pensive, bewildered, sad." that's my reaction. the whole mess and all its ramifications, the ripples that already are spreading crazy theories across the country, the world. i love the Boston marathon, my first city.

  9. I missed this, in all the shuffle. I'm so glad you all are safe.