[ETA to make some additions and corrections – Geoff]
I honestly am just in shock now.
As if the events in Boston have not brought enough insanity to our world, now the last 12 hours have taken the crazy to whole new levels.
The two bombers lived in our neighborhood here in Cambridge. And that is just for starters.
The more I read, the more my head is just spinning. All the latest insanity began last night when a 7-11 in Central Square was robbed. By a guy who appeared to be wearing an explosive vest, or at least carrying explosives on his person. The same 7-11 where I go to buy coffee and/or soda every time I am working a detail anywhere in Central Square. The same 7-11 where I had bought many of my weekly T passes before I got a monthly pass through work. A place I walk past at least once a week, every week. I go in there and buy lottery tickets on occasion. It’s next door to Pandemonium, one of my favorite stores in town. Kelly is in that 7-11 a fair bit too.
Then the suspects made their way over to MIT, somewhere near Building 32, that gigantic architectural weirdo near the corner of Main and Vassar, an intersection where I have directed traffic at least twice on details. And there they gunned down an MIT police officer, a young guy with whom I was somewhat acquainted. He went to school at Salem State and just became a cop last year. He died in the hospital after being shot multiple times before he could even get out of his cruiser. He staggered out of the vehicle and collapsed on the sidewalk, and then the suspects took his cruiser. [Edit: actually, isn’t clear whether or not that actually happened. I am still getting different versions at this point.]
Then they headed over to Binney and Third, where they carjacked a man driving a Mercedes SUV. For those of you keeping track at home, that’s the same intersection where Kelly and I got rear-ended at a red light while in the Mini. Young woman with a fake ID who was apparently high as a kite. And had a friend with her who had a rap sheet a mile long. Anyway, the bomber suspects drove around Cambridge for a while until they let the man go [or he escaped, again not entirely clear] at the Shell station on Memorial Drive near River Street. Again, an area we know well. Then they headed down Memorial Drive towards Watertown. I’m not sure at what point they were being pursued by police, but apparently for much of the chase they were literally shooting from the vehicle and throwing explosives and such out the windows. In the course of the chase an MBTA officer was wounded and the suspect that we now know was the older brother was wounded. He later died in custody at Beth Israel hospital, where they apparently found explosives on his person. In addition to being shot he had apparently wounded himself with one of his homemade explosive devices.
The younger brother fled, according to one version of the story actually running over his brother somewhere in the process. But at some point I guess he abandoned the SUV and struck out on foot. So Watertown is now under siege, with heavily armed officers swarming from all over the state (I saw a SWAT vehicle from Cape Cod, for God’s sake) into Watertown and nearby cities, like Cambridge. Everything is closed, shut down. They are telling people to stay inside and for businesses to stay closed.
The brothers lived in an apartment over on Norfolk Street, just a few blocks away. I often park my car on that street when I am working details in Inman Square. The Cambridge PD bomb squad is now over there, probably going through the apartment and making sure they can recover evidence without anyone getting blown up. They are still trying to find and hopefully capture the second brother.
But this is my neighborhood. There are lots of businesses that are literally all around where these guys live, in easy walking distance from our house: Mr. Pacheco’s hardware store, where I go all the time, especially for Portuguese stickers and flags like the ones I send to my dad; Fernandes Fish Market, where I buy most of my Portuguese groceries, especially cheeses and spices; Casa Portugal, my favorite Portuguese restaurant; and Troy’s Barber shop, where I have been getting my hair cut pretty much since I moved to Cambridge. And all this is almost literally in our backyard.
So yeah, my head is just spinning.
Don’t get me wrong, I still believe what I said before about bouncing back. But this is going to take time, especially for the people who have lost so much.