Scary on So Many Levels

(click on image to view USAToday article about the magazine cover)

New Yorker magazine is famous for its cover images, such as this one: Trump watching, in full-pout mode, while Sessions drags Comey off the plane. And, the citizens sit, obediently quiet, in their plastic seats, distracted by their devices and programmed toward suppressing and internally denying their outrage.

The same dynamics are at play in communities impacted by FAA’s fraudulent NextGen program, and by FAA’s enabling of impactful activities at places like Santa Monica and Longmont. More and more local residents are speaking up and organizing to protect their families, homes and neighborhoods. Yet, similarly, they run into so many neighbors who are afraid to share the outrage, who instead incline toward silence and distraction.

The architecture of our aviation system and our airplanes – the very geometry that defines how we sit on a commercial passenger flight – hints at how deeply corrupted our political system has become. A nation that for centuries has proudly pointed toward individual liberties and responsibilities, now sits mostly silent while money sets the houses on fire. We sit. Silently obedient, pretending a respect for authority that disrespects humanity.

Oh, and Happy Mothers’ Day to everyone! Let’s make our Moms proud and clean up this mess!!

Mainstream Media: Informing the Asylum?

In rural Belfair, Washington – in the quiet bucolic area north of Olympia – a guy in his forties shoots and kills four family members. A police SWAT team arrives at the home and the man then kills himself. News coverage commences.

One news article produces a graphic, showing how many ‘mass shootings’ we have had so far this year, in the evident uncivil war zone some call ‘the United States’:20160227scp.. Mass Shootings in U.S. so far 2016The incident quickly blends into the daily grind, becoming ‘just another tragedy’. We all get back to the business that the mainstream media wants us to find more important: spider veins, cooking with eggs, testing our Bible knowledge, etc.

20160227scp.. 'You Might Also Like...' (FoxNews.com)

The closing paragraphs of the article at FoxNews.com. And, links to other stories ‘we might also like’ after reading about a family mass shooting. Really?

The layers of lunacy; so many, and so entangled. Where does the insanity begin, and when did the sanity end? Are we as sick a people as this story suggests?

[QUOTE]: Why this Wisconsin Voter Has Chosen Bernie Over Hillary

Aside

QUOTE

“…I live in Wisconsin and will make a point to drive the four hours to Iowa to volunteer for Bernie the next two weekends and once he has the nomination, I hope Bill and Hillary retire and go away quietly. No more convention speeches or campaigning or anything. The real truth is that Bill sold the New Deal soul of the Democratic Party to be president and his wife is now willing to destroy one of the last true citizen-legislators so she can have power and protect her powerful friends’ interests.

Hillary has shown by her actions this week that her motivation, just like her husband, no matter what he says, is to be president. Fifty years have shown that Bernie Sanders is motivated to serve the common person. Choice made. Hillary got what she wanted from her attacks this week. They made the choice easy….”

– a blogger, Posting on Daily Kos

Click here to read the original Daily Kos post.

ANALYSIS: High-Altitude Shoot-Downs in Ukraine Started Just 3-Days Before the MH17 Crash

20140717.. MH17 debris and investigators in wheat field 7-22-14For the past ten days, the world has witnessed an intensive propaganda war where both sides are trying to spin the story of how MH17 ended up widely scattered over wheatfields and farms in east Ukraine. The one known element of the story is that the Boeing 777 was shot down. The consensus is that the source was a ground-based Russian-made SA-11 missile, also known as a BUK or ‘gadfly’, but it is also conceivable that the aircraft was shot down air-to-air.

On the one side we see the Russians and pro-Russian rebels, who are seeking to separate from Ukraine. On the other side we see Ukraine. And there are other players, such as the U.S., whose top officials have satellite imagery and other advanced intelligence and certainly know far more than they are sharing with the Public.

One core element of the spin aims to create plausible deniability for the prospect of involvement by major states. Early news stories talked about Russian SA-11 missile launchers being moved into eastern Ukraine, then being seen moving back to Russia shortly after MH17 was shot down. There does not appear to be any substantial denial of these movements; instead, the early spin aims to claim that the SA-11 units were brought into Ukraine then used by separatist rebels who ‘accidentally’ shot down MH17 while aiming for a Ukrainian military aircraft. It seems hard to imagine that a complex system* would be delivered by anyone other than a trained crew, and even harder to imagine that they would then let others play with the system.*Experts note that the SA-11 has three separate vehicle units: a radar (for target acquisition), a control center, and tank-like launchers with four loaded 18-ft missiles. It seems far more plausible that the SA-11 was used by trained Russian soldiers, under a cover claiming the separatists pulled the trigger. Alternatively, there have been some charges that the Ukrainian military used their own BUK to intentionally shoot down MH17, with the intent of pinning the blame on the Russians. Given known world history, it is difficult to reject this as the possible true story.

In a world of spin-control, one strategy is to launch a diversionary story. Ukraine was shockingly quick to release a collection of alleged intercepted communications, first between rebel leaders and Russian military officials and then amongst rebel leaders. They reflect that the news story broke as a shoot-down of an An-26 military aircraft (as first happened three days earlier, in the first high-altitude shoot-down, on 7/14/14), but soon transitioned to a realization that a civilian aircraft had been hit. Some charge that this is all a fabrication to cover for what may have been an air-to-air missile shoot-down from a Ukrainian jet.

One key area where Ukraine is clearly blocking Public knowledge is their refusal to share ATC data. The airspace is managed by Ukrainian air traffic controllers, under an international agreement. Sadly, that agreement does not mandate each state to be transparent and produce data, even after a major incident such as MH17. Interestingly, Russian radar claims to have tracked portions of MH17, and in a Defense Ministry presentation on 7/21/14, Russian officials offered radar data which they interpret as showing a Ukrainian military Su-25**Ten days earlier, on 7/7/14, an Su-25 was reportedly captured by separatists. So, conceivably, the alleged shadow Su-25 may have been Ukraine, rebel, or even Russian. shadowing 3-5 kilometers from MH17. If this is true, perhaps Ukraine is trying to hide the important fact that they did have a military aircraft in close proximity to the downed airline. That same Russian Defense Ministry presentation had many other strong arguments questioning the veracity of western claims, many of which are laid out near the bottom of the lengthy 7/26/14 report by Andre Vltcheck, at Global Research.

High-Altitude Shoot-downs were New on 7/17/2014

The first high-altitude shoot-down was just three days earlier, on 7/14/14, when an An-26 was hit; eight parachuted out and two died. Then, on 7/16/14, two Ukrainian Air Force Su-25’s were downed, apparently at higher altitudes, producing no fatalities; one was claimed to have been a MANPADS hit, and the other was claimed to have been an air-to-air hit by a Russian fighter. Prior to 7/14/14, there had been numerous shoot-downs, but most were helicopters, and all were at low altitudes, generally during takeoff or approach. In other words, the SA-11 system appears to have been first used on 7/14/14, just three days prior to MH17. Given the higher altitudes, it is quite conceivable that the two Su-25’s on 7/16/14 were also shot down using the SA-11.

Certainly, the major world military powers know the precise date and time that the Russian SA-11’s were delivered into and became operational in eastern Ukraine … but we don’t know that, because the leaders are hiding this information. The spin-games will continue and all parties will ensure the Public is in the dark. This is a pattern we have all come to expect in recent decades … from the U.S., Russian, Ukraine, the agencies (e.g., FAA), the airlines, etc. It is said that power corrupts; here, it appears a key part of the corruption is to control the flow of even basic information. Where is a good Whistleblower when we need one?

We Have to Look Elsewhere for the Facts

An outstanding resource for information on aviation accidents and incidents is AviationSafetyNetwork (A-SN). It includes two databases: one that covers major aviation incidents, and another that allows user-inputs to compile data and news links for even minor GA incidents. The A-SN database was queried by aiREFORM.com, using a filter to show all recent Ukraine accidents. Nearly all ‘accidents’ are war-related; all shoot-downs are listed in the table below:

5/2/2014 (2) Ukrainian Armed Forces Mi-24 helicopters, shot down near Luvyansk, using MANPADS. 5 fatalities.
5/2/2014 Ukrainian Armed Forces Mi-8 helicopter, damaged by gunfire near Slavyansk. No fatalities.
5/5/2014 Ukrainian Armed Forces Mi-24 helicopter, shot down by ground-fire near Luvyansk, crew is rescued, then Ukrainian Su-25 fires to destroy the downed helicopter. No fatalities.
5/29/2014 Ukrainian National Guard Mi-8 helicopter, shot down by ground-fire near Slavyansk. 12 fatalities.
6/3/2014 Ukrainian Armed Forces Mi-24 helicopter, shot down by small-arms fire near Slavyansk. No fatalities.
6/4/2014 (3) Ukrainian Mi-24 helicopters were damaged/destroyed by MANPADS and ground-fire near Slavyansk. No fatalities.
6/5/2014 Ukrainian Air Force Mi-8 helicopter, hit by small-arms fire near Slavyansk, forced to make emergency landing. No fatalities.
6/6/2014 Ukrainian Air Force An-30 jet with 8 on board, hit by ground-fire near Drobyshevo, catches fire and crashes. 5 fatalities.
6/14/2014 Ukrainian Air Force Il-76 jet, hit by MANPAD while on approach to Lugansk airport. 49 fatalities.
6/24/2014 Ukrainian Armed Forces Mi-8 helicopter, hit by MANPAD while taking off near Slavyansk airport. 9 fatalities.
7/1/2014 Ukrainian Air Force Su-25 jet, on an attack mission and hit by defense forces but able to return to its base. No fatalities.
7/2/2014 Ukrainian Air Force Su-24 jet, on an attack mission and hit by defense forces but able to return to its base. No fatalities.
7/12/2014 Ukrainian Air Force Mi-24 helicopter, on an attack mission near Snezhny, shot down by MANPAD. No fatalities.
7/14/2014 Ukrainian Air Force Su-25 jet, destroyed by separatists (no other information available). No fatalities.
7/14/2014 Ukrainian Air Force An-26 jet, shot down at higher altitude (6,500m) near Izvaryne. 2 fatalities.
7/16/2014 (2) Ukrainian Air Force Su-25 jets, one shot down by MANPAD, the other allegedly shot down by Russian fighter, both at altitude around 20,000-ft, near Ukraine-Russian border. No fatalities.
7/17/2014 Multiple older aircraft damaged/destroyed by Ukraine forces while parked at Tarasovka Airfield, northwest of Crimea. No fatalities.
7/17/2014 MH17 shot down at FL330, flying east of Donetsk. 298 civilian fatalities.

ANALYSIS: Controller Error & NMAC at Houston [KIAH], on 5/8/2014

A small error by an FAA controller at Houston Intercontinental Airport caused two United departures to converge in low clouds, producing a near-midair collision. The USAtoday news video below gives a good overview, with some audio.

…for the ATC analysis, please see page two of this aiR Post…

The aiREFORM Website has been Updated

This website was started in September 2012. In the intervening months, a lot of content has been created, focused on FAA failures, aviation accidents, airports and air traffic control, the impacts of aviation (especially environmental), and FAA’s horrific history of retaliation against Whistleblowers. Much more will be added, and soon. But, to facilitate continued growth, it has become necessary to adjust and improve the overall website layout.

After considerable effort, the existing content has been re-distributed within a new website layout. As such, readers who use bookmarks may find occasional dead links. All content has been retained, so the web address within your stored bookmark may be obsolete. As always, you can find the existing webpage using the search/query box (top right corner of the web pages). For example, if you want to see the analysis of the 435-page FOIA response, “Detailed FOIA Response on FAA’s Accountability Board”, just write ‘accountability board’ in the box and the search function will take you to the correct link and page.

Alternatively, please spend a minute exploring the many links built into the more intuitive Menu Bar, across the top of the aiR web pages.

Thanks for your patience. Hope the information is helpful!

What’s with the Rash of Wrong-Airport Landings?

It happened again: a large, commercial flight under control of the U.S. ATC system landed at the wrong runway. No, wait, even worse then that: at the WRONG AIRPORT! This time it was the sleepy airport at Branson, Missouri [KBBG]

This should not be happening, and frankly is an indication that some of our FAA air traffic controllers are not paying attention to their traffic.

For the record, there are two different sets of controllers implicated in the Branson incident: the radar approach controllers, and the local tower controllers. FAA works the Approach Control for a radius of roughly forty miles out, based at the FAA facility in Springfield, Missouri. For this particular flight, en route center ATC would have handed off the Southwest flight to Springfield Approach,**…or, alternatively, Center may have been working the flight all the way to the final approach, if the traffic was ‘Pointed Out’ to ATC at Springfield TRACON. This is a common technique and would be even more likely to happen for this flight because the route from Midway to Branson skirts through the perimeter of the TRACON airspace. In this case, the Center controller would ensure that the radar data is viewable at the Springfield TRACON, then call the TRACON controller to get approval for ‘You watch him, I’ll work him’. The downside of this is Center controllers, working larger airspace, are more susceptible to not noticing that the arrival they shipped to a control tower is trying to land at the wrong airport. FAA will need to clarify this detail as this error — and the role ATC played in it — is analyzed. and that radar approach controller would turn and descend the flight to position it for a safe final approach at KBBG. That FAA controller would then tell the pilot to radio the tower controller, typically at ten miles or so from the runway. KBBG is staffed with contract air traffic controllers, who work 14-hrs per day. This is an extremely slow airport in western Missouri, averaging one takeoff per 90-minutes.  Yes, ONE takeoff per NINETY minutes; quite possibly the slowest / least active U.S. airport to have a staffed air traffic control tower.

click on map to study this flight at FlightAware.com

So, how did this happen and what might have prevented it? It wasn’t the weather, as the skies were generally clear with a few clouds. [the sequence from NOAA.gov: KBBG 122347Z 15012G23KT 10SM FEW250 17/M02 A2970] The tower controllers would be (should be?) watching out the window of the tower cab, but if the flight was lining up to land five or more miles from their towered airport, they would not see the aircraft and could not offer much help. Reliably, a good tower controller will not issue a landing clearance until they see the flight, and quickly ask the right questions to ‘save’ the flight crew from making a mistake. At the other extreme, a non-diligent controller may fail to add the required words and issue the right clearance: Not in sight, cleared to land Runway One-Four.” In other words, a quick, lazy “Cleared to Land”, coupled with ATC’s failure to monitor the traffic and, five minutes later, the pilot is hemming and hawing on the frequency and starting to worry about how to interview for his next job. And if the controller who failed to jump on that quick opportunity to make a ‘save’ is an employee at a moderate tower in today’s FAA, chances are he or she will still be earning upwards of $130K next year. No consequences for poor performance. Good job, ATC…

And how about the radar approach controllers? Well, FAA has an extensive digital radar system, loaded with subsystems that create alarms to alert the controller when a flight is not where it should be. So, if an arriving passenger jet is supposed to line up for and land at KBBG, that system is supposed to create an alert if it senses the flight is trying to land too soon. More often than not, the problem is one where the controller is just not paying attention and fails to respond to the alert. Or, the alerting system may have been disabled, as happened at Guam in 1997. Or, the controller may have prematurely removed the flight from the system, so the computer no longer knows the flight is there; all of the safety benefits of this system (and we have spent billions over decades evolving this system!) can no longer be delivered during the phase of flight when they are most needed.

A competent air traffic controller, applying full diligence to their work, will take care of their flights to a point where nothing else can go wrong. On the other hand, a lazy or indifferent controller may incline toward minimal effort — issuing a couple new headings and a descent clearance, then quickly shipping the flight off to the next controller. When laziness sets in too deeply, the disservice can lead to an abject failure where the controller fails to visually monitor the flight and then, well, we end up with wrong-airport landings. Or worse.

<< <><<>> <> >>
Vigilance.Professionalism.

The two concepts are intertwined, and at the heart of what pilots and controllers do. The best pilots and controllers do not let down their guard. When we don’t maintain our vigilance and professionalism, the simple fact is, people end up dying. Pilots and passengers, plus sometimes innocent people on the ground. It happened a few times, just last year….

<< <><<>> <> >>

This week it happened at Branson, and nobody was hurt. In past weeks it has happened elsewhere, with far graver consequences when an FAA air traffic controller has failed to maintain his/her vigilance and professionalism. Here are four examples…

  • 11/20/13 at Wichita, KS: the largest cargo aircraft in the world, one of a specialized fleet of three in service to ferry massive Boeing aircraft components for the 787 Dreamliner construction program, took off from JFK airport at 7:26PM, then landed at the wrong Kansas airport, nearly nine-miles north of their intended destination. Thankfully, the crew was able to fully stop before the end of the runway. Some runway lights were broken, and an engineering firm was called in to inspect for possible pavement (load-related) damage, in early December. The runway is rated to support roughly one-tenth the weight of the modified 747 Dreamlifter.
  • 8/14/13 at Birmingham, AL: at 4:49AM, an Airbus 300 flying the regular daily cargo circuit on a flight from the UPS home base at Louisville, KY clipped trees then crashed into rolling hills a mile short of the intended runway. On board safety systems alerted the pilots just seven seconds prior to impact. Both pilots were killed. Five months later and still no word from NTSB as to whether an ATC safety system was generating low altitude or descent rate alerts.
  • 8/27/06 at Lexington, KY: shortly after 6AM on a Sunday morning, the controller did not specify the runway when he cleared a Comair regional jet for takeoff. Weather was fine, but the airport was in the middle of a construction project, adding some confusion for the tired pilots waking up to their first flight of the day. The jet did take the runway and, fifty seconds after the takeoff clearance was issued, began to accelerate … but they were trying to take off down the wrong runway, which was a few hundred feet too short. The pilots had no choice but to rotate when they reached the end of the runway without sufficient speed. It was a full minute after the crash that the controller picked up the crash phone to call out the fire equipment. Only the co-pilot survived; 49 perished.
  • 8/6/97 at Agana, Guam: A Boeing 747 crashed three miles short of the intended runway, killing 228 people during what should have been a routine stop on an overnight flight from Seoul, Korea. Investigators found that FAA’s Minimum Safe Altitude Warning system (MSAW) had been disabled, so as to eliminate ‘nuisance alarms’. The post-accident analysis showed that, if the system had not been intentionally disabled, alarms would have started a full 64-seconds prior to impact, with ample time for ATC to issue a radio warning to save the flight.

Greyhound Therapy

 An article has been posted at aiREFORM’s ‘Miscellany’ page. It includes links to various news stories, a PDF of a letter sent by 21 Congressional representatives seeking a full investigation, and more.

This story points out the need for government transparency, and for effective and thoughtful program management from the top levels. I.e., lacking these we will find states spending money and harming people, while shipping their problems back and forth to other states. A knot of health professionals and civil servants, churning out a disservice…

Here’s an excerpt from the 4/7/13 SacBee article that helped to expose this fiasco:

…By the time his Greyhound bus hissed to a stop on Richards Boulevard in Sacramento on the morning of Feb. 12, James Flavy Coy Brown was in a mild panic.

It was 6:30 a.m., 15 hours and 11 stops after a taxi had scooped him up in front of Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital in Las Vegas, where he had spent the previous 72 hours, and deposited him at a bus station.

During the long ride to Northern California, Brown had rationed the peanut butter crackers and Ensure nutritional supplements that a staff member at the mental hospital had given him, along with his discharge papers and a bus ticket to Sacramento. His food was gone, and he was nearly out of the medication to treat his array of mood disorders, including schizophrenia, depression and anxiety.

As the bus door opened in Sacramento, Brown, 48, stepped out into the pre-dawn gloom. It was 30 degrees, and his windbreaker was no match for the chill….

 

American Fascism?

Right up front, let me say that as a kid growing up in the 1960’s, I acquired an aversion to putting labels on things. Communist…; Fascist…; Racist…; Anarchist…; Idealist…; …whatever the label, using it always seemed wrong, and using these labels seemed to imply a lack of intelligence or substance by the user of the label.

And so here we are, fifty years later, and the aversion remains. And, yet, I have heard the label brought up with increasing frequency, especially in the last year. Maybe, it is time I learned what fascism means? And, maybe I am not the only one who feels a bit ignorant about this term. So, I did some quick online research, and here is what I found…

File:Fascist symbol.svg

Fasces: the primary symbol on the flag of Mussolini’s fascist party.

  1. Italian leader Mussolini is the figure most associated with ‘Fascism’. He created the National Fascist Party, Partito Nazionale Fascista (PNF), which ruled Italy from 1922 until 1943. Mussolini on Fascism (1932)
  2. At the risk of being too simplistic here, a key reason for the development of Fascism was that, in the 1920’s, political leaders needed to bridge the gap between socialism/marxism and capitalism. Unions had become extremely powerful, and there was a violent adversarial relationship evolving between wealth and labor. So, it made sense at the time that government would serve as a moderating force, somehow bringing peace out of the emerging chaos, and bringing the sides together. It also was handy that the political need created political opportunity, which Mussolini, Hitler and others were happy to use, to build their own power.
  3. The ‘fasces’ symbol signified a bundling of the individuals to have greater power, collected into a state. Again, considering the condition of the world when Fascism evolved, we should not be surprised that bundling people ‘together’ to cooperate and progress forward was likely a very positive idea in the early 1920’s.
  4. Over time, Fascism did acquire many negative aspects, mostly related to subordinating the rights and power of individuals. The message seems to be: “you are just one stick in the bundle, so trust what the bundle tells you and knock off these dissenting or questioning comments.” Notably, this same attitude is used today to silence (and eventually retaliate against) whistleblowers, such as those who speak up about safety problems or corruption, as can be found within the Av-Gov complex.
  5. Fascist states notably have many inter-related obsessions, including: national security, patriotic fervor, crime and punishment, and supremacy of the military. They also commonly have a disdain for human rights, tend to entangle government and religion, suffer rampant cronyism and corruption, and have been known to rig their elections.
  6. reverse side of the U.S. Mercury Dime, minted 1916-1945.

    Again, while Fascism has had a negative public perception for a long time, there was a time when it was positive, even in this country. The fasces were the prominent symbol on the reverse side of the U.S. Mercury Dime, minted from 1916 to 1945. (And, the torch on the reverse side of the Roosevelt Dime, minted since 1946, consists of a fasces, too).

  7. Another aspect of Fascism was that it facilitated a rapid and extreme concentration of power to a small group, which in time came to control the fascist regime. See what FDR said about Fascism in 1938 (a quote is posted below). 5-28-2003
  8. Mussolini’s PNF Fascist party (and its successor) is the only political party BANNED by the Italian Constitution; they wanted to ensure this monster would never be resurrected, so they wrote the ban into their Constitution.

So, that’s a quick (and admittedly amateur) summary of the origins and early application of Fascism, under Mussolini. Now, here is what President Roosevelt had to say to Congress, in April 1938:

President Roosevelt, addressing Congress on 4/29/38:


“…Unhappy events abroad have re-taught us two simple truths about the liberty of a democratic people.

“The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic State itself. That, in its essence, is fascism — ownership of government by an individual, by a group or by any other controlling private power.

“The second truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if its business system does not provide employment and produce and distribute goods in such a way as to sustain an acceptable standard of living. Both lessons hit home. Among us today a concentration of private power without equal in history is growing….” 4-29-1938

And, today, we have former presidential candidate Ralph Nader calling on all of us to challenge Washington, and the powerful corporations who now run it:

Ralph Nader, in a Democracy Now interview, posted 6/5/2013:


“…It is not too extreme to call our system of government now ‘American fascism.’ It’s the control of government by big business, which Franklin Delano Roosevelt defined in 1938 as fascism,” Nader says.
“We have the lowest minimum wage in the Western world. We have the greatest amount of consumer debt. We have the highest child poverty, the highest adult poverty, huge underemployment, a crumbling public works — but huge multi-billionaires and hugely profitable corporations.
“I say to the American people: What’s your breaking point? When are you going to stop making excuses for yourself? When are you going to stop exaggerating these powers when you know you have the power in this country if you organize it?” 6-5-2013

…American Fascism?

Considering recent U.S. history, this seems like a fair assessment.

The evidence shows that FAA is a captured agency, serving first and foremost the powers within the industry. But, FAA is just one of many. Further evidence shows that many or most of our federal (and state) agencies are at least partially captured. All of these corrupt agencies need reform: full accountability and transparency, so every citizen can see inside these agencies. So the few rogue, self-serving managers can no longer hide and steal.

Now would be a good time to start.

Why?

A NY Times OpEd , copied here…

On Monday, the weather for the 117th running of the Boston Marathon was cloudy and a little chilly — just the way runners like it. Three hours after the winners had broken the tape, there were still many runners on the course, and hundreds of spectators on the sidewalk, when an explosion rocked the finish-line area on Boylston Street, across from the main viewing stand. For a brief second, the flags of scores of nations were bent downward by the blast.

A few marathoners were knocked over by the force of the explosion. Some runners, locked in their trance, kept going until they realized something horrific had just happened. When they turned back, they said they heard the screams and wails, saw the column of rising smoke, and then the blood and limbs of victims. There was broken glass and agony everywhere.

Fifteen seconds after the first one, there was another explosion a few blocks away. It was clear this was not a random event but another concerted effort to kill and maim innocent Americans, just because they had gathered in a vulnerable spot on a day when no one’s mind was on terror. The police confirmed that bombs were responsible for the mayhem; three more unexploded devices were found elsewhere around the city. At least three people died — one of whom was 8 years old — and dozens more were injured, some severely.

It could be a while before officials determine which malevolent ideology was behind this attack. President Obama vowed to track down the perpetrators and bring them to justice, praising Boston as a “tough and resilient town” that will take care of itself and will be taken care of by the country. “The American people will say a prayer for Boston tonight,” he said.

The simple joy of a 26.2-mile run was shattered on Monday.* But the marathon will be back next year, no matter how much security is required, and the crowds should yell twice as loudly. No act of terrorism is strong enough to shatter a tradition that belongs to American history.

NYTimes Update: Law enforcement officials said Tuesday morning that there appeared to be no explosive devices around the city other than the two that exploded during the marathon.

*The finish area at a large, social run has some of the happiest energy to be found in this world. These runners expend so much energy, both in months of training and in the race itself. Their sweat seemingly dissolves all differences; the camaraderie and the chatter, while sipping cups of water and nibbling carbohydrates, is a fine example of authentic human communion. For a moment anyway, there is no capacity in the hearts of these spent yet content souls to bog down in the hostile social ‘backwardism’ so common in our present world.
…may God (or any benevolent force) help us all…

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/16/us/explosions-reported-at-site-of-boston-marathon.html?hp