US media react to Boston Marathon bombings

Officials help a runner who fell following the blast at the marathon in Boston on 15 April 2013
Image caption The Boston Marathon is described as the "crown jewel for weekend endurance warriors"

US media have been reacting to the bombings at the Boston Marathon. Although officials have not yet given a motive for the attacks, many newspapers make the link to terrorism and speak of the need to stand strong in the face of yet another outrage on American soil.

Under the headline, "A tough blow - but a tougher town", Boston Globe opinion writer Scott Lehigh said the attack happened when "when we had almost stopped thinking about it".

"We had come to believe we were safe, that terrorist attacks of this sort were a relic of our unprepared past," he wrote.

He said lessons would be learnt from this event: "But we won't take cover. And we won't cower. This, after all, is Boston."

Joe Fitzgerald, of the Boston Herald, bitterly described the perpetrators as "savages" and decried the public announcements in the hours after the attacks telling people to stay off the streets.

"Don't walk the streets of Boston? Stay in your hotel rooms? Stop the music at Symphony Hall? Forget all about hockey?

"Oh, the savages must have loved that! How it must have delighted their warped, verminous minds. Void of conscience, they lack any instinct for remorse or compassion."

He said the perpetrators should be allowed no excuses: "Evil need not be understood. It simply needs to be eliminated, by any means necessary".

'Leap of faith'

Nicholas Thompson, writing in the New Yorker, said: "There's something particularly devastating about an attack on a marathon. It's an epic event in which men and women appear almost superhuman. The winning men run for hours at a pace even normal fit people can only hold in a sprint.

"But it's also so ordinary. It's not held in a stadium or on a track. It's held in the same streets everyone drives on and walks down. An attack on a marathon is, in some ways, more devastating than an attack on a stadium; you're hitting something special but also something very quotidian."

In The Washington Post, columnist Mike Wise called the Boston Marathon "the crown jewel for weekend endurance warriors", but said such an attack has long been the fear of the running industry.

"You can screen your runners, volunteers, media and race officials... but if the arena of competition is a city's streets, how do you possibly screen every person walking up to the race?" he quoted a long-time race official as saying.

The New York Times echoed the belief that the Boston Marathon "will be back next year, no matter how much security is required, and the crowds should yell twice as loudly".

"No act of terrorism is strong enough to shatter a tradition that belongs to American history".

CNN columnist LZ Granderson pointed out that although President Barack Obama did not use the word "terrorism" when talking about the bombings in Boston, it is what everyone feared.

"If September 11, 2001, was the day our innocence was taken, then April 15, 2013, is the reminder that it is never coming back," he said.

"And we do not need the president to say the word to feel the word."

The changed reality for Americans was that "we will never, ever be safe again. Not in the way many of us remember being safe growing up."

The LA Times' Robin Abcarian wrote about the difficulty for people in future to "maintain a sense of emotional equilibrium" when attending large public events such as a marathon.

"How should we think about our safety the next time we are in a crowd? I spent some time today reading about how to cope with random acts of violence. I was looking for a concise, if not magical, formula," she said.

"I've discovered there is none."

She went on to say: "We have to make a leap of faith that what happened Monday in Boston will not happen to us. And then, because it probably, mostly, almost certainly is true, we have to make ourselves believe it."

Under the headline A More Resilient America, the Chicago Tribune, said that the events in Boston "confronted all Americans with a sense of helplessness, but not of hopelessness".

"We have been here before, and we will be here again. We have survived many terror assaults, and whatever comes next, we will survive that too," the newspaper said.

"Those with twisted minds and treasured grievances never will stop doling out damage and wedging their causes into headlines. But with each incident the next perpetrators lose some fraction of their ability to leave us fractured and flummoxed".

Bruce Schneier, writing in The Atlantic, said people need to get angry by what has happened, empathise with the victims, "but refuse to be terrorized".

"How well this attack succeeds depends much less on what happened in Boston than by our reactions in the coming weeks and months. Terrorism isn't primarily a crime against people or property. It's a crime against our minds, using the deaths of innocents and destruction of property as accomplices."

He urged people to "be indomitable - and support leaders who are as well. That's how to defeat terrorists."