, Newburyport, MA

April 26, 2013

A time for healing after Boston Marathon bombing

Bill Plante's North Shore
Newburyport Daily News

---- — The past nearly two weeks have been filled with consequences both evil and good.

As for the evil, bit by bit, evidence related to the bombing of the Boston Marathon supports the belief that it was by only the two brothers, one considerably older than the other.

As for the good, there’s an international outpouring of support because the Boston Marathon welcomes all comers, and Massachusetts colleges and universities attract those from the world around.

On the dark side, the investigation continues as it should.

On the warm side, Boston is showing its heart.

The most recent evidence of limited responsibility for the bombing was reported in Wednesday’s Daily News.

The purchase of fireworks containing small amounts of black powder for aerial displays from Phantom Fireworks in Seabrook is turning out to be a part of a narrow plot with global impact.

The pressure cooker containers were sufficiently large enough for powder and projectiles to create local havoc with world-wide consequences.

Total cost? About a hundred dollars.

That’s not unusual.

I, for one, was reminded of the bombing of Newburyport’s historic courthouse on Bartlet Mall 37years ago.

It blew out the upper corner of the recently restored southern end of the building. The damage was sufficient to generate wide publicity, despite the lack of casualties.

It really doesn’t take much explosive to create havoc. One stick of dynamite could have done that. It’s the spread of consequences that really matters.

As for deaths, one is one too many, but, save for those of large-scale calamities — 9/11 having been the worst of them — there have been fewer deaths over time than one might expect.

All bombings are newsmakers, but this one is exceptional because of the venue; its history continues in its making and will be longer lived.

As for bombing’s history, a computer search revealed that there have been some 20 thwarted attempts since the turn of the century. I would have guessed less.

Newburyport’s own was on a Fourth of July weekend.

This was no bomb contrived from fireworks. This was dynamite, and there were three of the bombings in Massachusetts on the same weekend.

Subsequent searches discovered 611 pounds of it hidden in Boxford.

There are always back stories to such acts. Discovery of them usually doesn’t come out of nowhere.

Neither does recovery. We’re in the process of post-event revival. That comes from our hearts as well as our collective purses, and thousands have turned out to honor the lives of the victims and their families.

It’s time for healing, but there will continue to be questions needing answers because there will be another Boston Marathon next year, and there is much more to be settled regarding safety than has been ever before considered.


Bill Plante is a Newbury resident and staff columnist. His e-mail address is