Boston Marathon Bombings: Questions Remain Unanswered

By:  Thomas R. Eddlem
Boston Marathon Bombings: Questions Remain Unanswered

The motive behind the April 15 twin bombings at the Boston Marathon, which killed at least three and injured more than 175, remains a mystery as of Tuesday afternoon.

The motive behind the April 15 twin bombings at the Boston Marathon, which killed at least three and injured more than 175, remains shrouded in mystery as of Tuesday afternoon. Although law enforcement officials reportedly have a Saudi national in custody as a “person of interest,” it remains unclear whether the bombings are an act of terrorism or simply the actions of a lone insane bomber without political motivation. The bombings apparently included a pressure cooker in a backpack, with some type of ball bearing or other shrapnel in it.

The presence of a Saudi national at the marathon event is not by itself suspicious or unusual, as many people come to Boston from around the world for both the marathon and for college study. Boston is largely an international college town, with some 53 colleges and universities within the city and its inner highway Route 128 loop. Several dozen additional colleges and universities are within the outer Route 495 highway loop of the Boston metropolitan area as well.

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick debunked early news stories that claimed other explosive devices were found. “Two and only two explosive devices were found yesterday,” Patrick said at an April 15 evening press conference. “There were no unexploded explosive devices found.” Early reports that a fire at the JFK Library in Dorchester — several miles from the marathon route — was related proved to be untrue. The library fire was ruled a “mechanical fire” after an initial investigation.

At least one eyewitness to the event, University of Mobile's cross country coach Ali Stevenson, claimed in an interview with a local television network that he saw bomb-sniffing dogs and unprecedented security even before the bombs exploded. 

President Obama said in an April 16 press conference that the bombing was a “cowardly act” and stressed that “the FBI is investigating it as an act of terrorism.” Obama also noted that he had no information as of Tuesday morning about the perpetrator(s) or the motive. “What we don't yet know, however, is who carried out this attack, or why,” Obama said. “Clearly, we are at the beginning of our investigation.... In the coming days, we will pursue every effort to get to the bottom of what happened.”

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Photo of emergency workers aiding victims of the Boston bombing: AP Images

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