The latest reports list two people killed and 22 injured by explosions near the finish line of the Boston Marathon this afternoon. The timing of the blasts was curious, since the elite runners had already finished racing some time earlier. The crowds at the line were presumably smaller than they would have been earlier in the race. Investigators haven't absolutely ruled out an accident, but they've also detonated a "suspicious package" within the last half-hour, more than an hour after the original blasts.
Speculation about terrorism is unavoidable. Two points are worth noting. First, today is Patriot's Day in Massachusetts, and this is the week of bloody anniversaries -- Waco; Oklahoma City; Columbine -- that has had people on alert for domestic terrorists and amoklaufers in the past. The timing should compel investigators to consider a domestic source, should the explosions prove to have been deliberate bombings. On the other hand, the Marathon creates a potentially attractive target for at least one foreign militant group. This year's winners were an Ethiopian man and a Kenyan woman, and those countries have dominated distance running in recent times. Both countries have also intervened militarily in Somalia against the al-Shabab Islamist force. Had the blasts occurred as the winners crossed the lines, it might be easier to deduce that the African runners had been targeted by Islamist Somalis or their sympathizers. That may still have been the case, even if the timing was off. It all depends on who wanted to kill whom -- if it wasn't an accident after all. What it is for certain is a damn shame.