Two things folks who have not spent time in Boston may not understand about the events in Boston and Watertown this week: Marathon Monday, Patriot's Day, is a family event. I personally knew hundreds of people who went down to the race, because nearly everyone seems to go. My niece and nephew had watched a bit just down the block, though they had left by the time of the bombing. My sister-in-law knew a woman, a nurse, and her new husband who both lost limbs from the bomb, but so far I've not heard from other friends, family, or patients who were hurt. The "could have been" is sobering.
The second thing to understand is that Boston proper is a very small city. One could walk across it in a few hours. It is just a bit of a walk across the river to Cambridge, more of a hike over to Watertown. Closing down the city to do a confined manhunt in Watertown might seem unimaginable in Manhattan or Dallas or Los Angeles, but it is not so terribly far-fetched in Boston.
I mostly know the medical community, and some people in the law enforcement community. Atul Gawande wrote a good post for The New Yorker online about why so many survived the initial blast despite critical injuries. Today there are more than 50 people still hospitalized. And of course the five who died (including the MIT officer who was shot by the alleged bombers on Thursday night/Friday morning and the older bombing suspect himself). We will go back to work tomorrow and see how people are handling what happened, though I was on call for the practice and spoke with a few people who were very shaken up, particularly on Friday.
It was a good week to have been away, but I am glad to be home. My family is safe and sound, and it is so terrible that so many families were maimed and wounded this week. Thank you to those who reached out to me via social media and email, concerned about us.