Inevitably, in the commotion and chaotic scenes of the hours afterwards, reports become mixed; contradictory statements made about the number of injuries and deaths that have taken place. Just hours after, the reports already named two dead, a hundred injured, a number that has already risen to confirm the death of another. Yet through the turmoil and confusion, one thing was clear: another tragic event had made the world stop in its tracks. Social media rallied, of course; re-tweets offering the help-line numbers to anxious families desperate to know if their loved ones were okay. Some even offered their homes to those stranded and unable to reach hotels, as the response teams did all they could: a much needed reminder of the kindness that humanity is capable of, in light of the evil that had just been witnessed.
Yet for an event that can attract 500,000 spectators and averages 20,000 runners, these prayers and words of kindness can sometimes only go so far. The gentlemen wheeled away after having lost both his legs - in a race where he ran in the memory of the school children who died at the hands of Adam Lanza at Sandy Hook Elementary School – will likely never run again. You cannot help but wonder where the justice is in the world when you hear a story like that. Many others injured and some even lost their lives, all as a result of invisible hands. Inquiries will be made, and President Barack Obama made strong assertions: ‘we will find who did this and why’. Yet tragically, the cruel, heartless and selfish people that did this may never be brought to justice.
For now, and likely for the foreseeable future, the motives will sadly remain unclear. With shootings in Sandy Hook Elementary and at a cinema in Aurora, Colorado last June, we ask ourselves is there nowhere in the public eye that is safe any more? A marathon - people raising money and doing good deeds - transformed into a city, a country and a world that has been rocked by an unspeakable act of brutality. With this it becomes easy to point the finger when things still appear hazy, and this is something that, despite the inclination, we must not do. Details will emerge over the coming days and weeks, but for now let us just do the only thing we can: offer our thoughts and prayers to all those involved in what has been truly a tragic event.