Where Were You? Students' Stories of the Boston Marathon Bombing • An ICMPA Media Literacy Project
It was 2:56 p.m. last Monday afternoon, and I had just left Tydings Hall after finishing my macroeconomics exam. I only had 4 minutes to hurry over to McKeldin to meet for a group project, and I was exhausted. All I could think about was that the last thing I wanted to do was be in the library; I just wanted to go back to my apartment and take a much-needed nap. I met with one of the girls from my group, and we sat at a table with our laptops open while we waited for the remaining two to arrive. While I was checking my e-mail, she suddenly gasped and mumbled, “oh my god, there was an explosion in Boston.” We didn’t know what caused the explosion or where exactly it was. While she fumbled for her phone to contact her relatives and friends in Boston, I sat there unfazed, truly underestimating the weight of this event.
As I scrolled through my Facebook and Twitter feeds, I noticed status updates involving Boston and trending tweets that read ‘#prayforboston.’ I quickly learned that it was a bomb that exploded at the Boston Marathon, and numerous people were injured, and two were even dead. That’s when it really hit me – it was a man-made tragedy. The explosion was not some terrible accident, or some technical error. It was purposely planned and carried out. And it hurt innocent people. I started to research the event and found photos from the marathon. The tragedy was visualized before me in the form of injured runners and a blown-up finish line.
Fast forward to Thursday night, and I’m scrolling mindlessly through Facebook again. I see a status update from the valedictorian from my high school class, who is currently a student at MIT. She mentions a shooting and assures everyone of her safety. I didn’t catch the connection between this shooting and the Boston Marathon bombing until the next day. My roommate and I sat on the couch and watched the news all morning. That’s when I saw the same names and the faces behind both of these tragic events. I was heartbroken for the families of the victims, but after learning who was responsible for their losses, all I could think was… why?