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Boston TV Images Hit a Little Too Close To Home
April 19, 2013  | By Eric Gould

In an interview today (Friday) on Fresh Air with Terry Gross, Boston resident and Globalpost.com reporter Charles Sennott said, "Every time this happens, it's someone's hometown." He's right. This time, it happened in mine...

Sennott's thoughtful point was that, as many times as we've seen these images across the world – in Kabul, Baghdad and elsewhere – there's a remoteness to it, a separation from everyday experience. That distance dulls the impact a degree or two, as it must. There's just no equivalence of the TV image to the places we know by our senses: the kind of trees there, the smells, how it looks on a cold spring morning.

The images of bombing on Monday were at first, like any other bombing seen on TV news, hard to comprehend, and even harder to absorb.

It really could have happened anywhere, except for that that block of Boylston Street in Boston where the marathon finish line is (top) is one I've walked up and down a thousand times or more during 30 years of living in Boston.

Everyone living in Boston has a way in which this has affected their immediate lives, or emotionally touched them in some way.

Not that the way it reached me was anything particularly interesting, or special. Probably less so, since I wasn't at the marathon that day, or friends with anyone who runs the event. As a local, it's more of an event for visitors. Not giving it much thought, I went to work that day, on the other side of the Boston Common in the Downtown Crossing neighborhood.

But this morning, as the manhunt for the two suspects churned after images of them went live on TV the night before, there were images of state and federal police in SWAT gear on Arsenal Street in Watertown (above) – where I had architectural projects running for years. The suspect's neighborhood was also crawling with police, and TV crews, just outside of Inman Square in Cambridge (below), near where I had lived for 17 years.

The world I was watching on TV was full of places I had shopped or walked the dog, hundreds of times.

As Sennott spoke to Gross today, he asked, "Why does it feel so different that these victims speak with a Boston accent?" He answered his own question. "This is different. Suddenly you realize that whenever you cover a bombing, its someone's home town."

As the story of the terror plan and the incomprehensible reasons continues to unfold (as I write this on Friday night, the suspect may once again have been surrounded by authorities in Watertown), we will, in time, learn how and why innocent people, including children, came to be seen as legitimate bombing targets. There is a more than a little misinformation out there right now, and Sennott also recommended after years of war reporting and covering the Oklahoma City bombing, "Just follow the story where it leads you. Don't try and guess."

It's prudent advice. Tonight, as I write this, one of the Marathon Bombing suspects is dead, another appears cornered, and the story isn't finished.  

But for one American city, it's now just a bit more real. Closer.

And it's happening right around the corner.
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