The world had its fair share of high profile news stories this past week.
From terrorist bombings, to federal government gridlock, to natural disasters, it appeared that the media had their hands full, providing round-the-clock coverage. Why did these stories cause such a dramatic media firestorm? The dramatic timeline of tragic events drew some strong sentiments in American culture that drew mass attention and reaction, making the week of April 15 one of the worst weeks ever for Americans.
The turbulent week began with a shocking act of terrorism at the annual Boston Marathon on Monday. Two bombs were set off near the finish line killing three people and leaving over 140 seriously injured. Next, a Mississippi man was arrested for being linked to sending letters sealed with the poison chemical ricin to President Obama and a U.S. senator. On Thursday, the Senate rejected plans for more restricted gun legislation, leaving open the bipartisan divide on the issue. And then on Thursday night a Texas fertilizer plant went up in flames, devastating a small town with a continued rising death toll.
As if Americans did not have enough to process, one of the most extensive manhunts occurred Thursday and Friday, shutting down the entire city of Boston. In a search for two suspects linked to the marathon bombings, authorities went door to door in towns while the city was under strict lockdown. The night before, two brothers that were named suspects in the Boston bombing were involved in a firefight with authorities, killing an MIT police officer and injuring an MBTA officer. One of the Boston bombing suspects was fatally shot in the crossfire. With the remaining suspect at large, SWAT teams, Boston and federal authorities launched one of the most nail biting manhunts ever. On Friday evening, the remaining suspect was found hiding underneath a tarp on a boat located in a Watertown, Mass. backyard.
The Boston bombing occurred on Patriots’ Day, an event celebrated in Massachusetts and Maine on the third Monday in April. The day serves to commemorate the beginning of the Revolutionary War battles of Lexington and Concord which took place on April 19, 1775. Ironically several acts of terror have taken place on or near this patriotic day.
On April 19, 1993 a cult leader set fire to a center of worship in Waco, Texas, killing over 70 people. On the same day two years later, Timothy McVeigh set off a bomb in Oklahoma City killing 168 people in 1995. On April 20, 1999 two Colorado teens shot and killed 12 students and a teacher at the infamous Columbine High School massacre. Now the Boston Marathon bombings will join this list of April acts of terror.
The events that rocked Americans this past week have left a permanent mark on culture for the mere fact that it brought forth the feeling of fear. While acts of terror occur across the globe, it is easy to become disassociated from them. However the fact that these events occurred domestically, for the first time in a long time millions of Americans truly felt that their national security was threatened in this post 9/11 era.