The term “survivor” is increasingly replacing “victim” for the people who have been severely injured by the Marathon bombing, and I will overtake this naming out of respect for them. The hardest-hit survivors are of course those who lost one or both legs and need a prosthetic substitute, and they have naturally gained the biggest media attention. I will use the term survivor in this narrower sense from now on.
It was to be expected that the attention would peak again in the weeks around the anniversary of the bombings. But it came as a big suprise and thinly veiled disappointment when nearly nobody of them followed the Boston Globe’s invitation for a “historic” photo shooting on April 6th, which was supposed to be a reuniting event with first responders, policemen, firefighters, bystanders, and, last not least, authorities like Ortiz, Menino, Walsh, and Ed Davis.
Even more surprising is the apparent lack of interest on the part of the survivors for the official memorial services on Aptil 15th. It basically consisted of three parts: a wreath-laying ceremony in the morning, a memorial event with speeches and music in the Hynes Convention Center at midday, and a flag-raising ceremony in the afternoon. And while the outdoor ceremonies were hold in honor of the deceased victims, the invitation-only event in the Convention Center was expressly dedicated to the survivors, too. But it appears that most of them preferred to stay away.
Paul and J.P. Norden, both of them lost their right leg, performed a walk along the Marathon route together with their families instead. Marc Fucarile, who lost one leg and whose other leg is in precarious condition, cited the bad weather and followed the memorial on TV. And numerous other prominent survivors, like Heather Abbott and Jeff Bauman, are nowhere to see on footage from the event. They might have been in an area not covered by the camera, but as the event was primarily dedicated to them, they should have gotten a place in the first row. With the exception of the Richard Family, Adrianne Haslet-Davis, Sydney and Celeste Corcoran, Patrick Downes and Jessica Kensky, and David Yepez no prominent survivors seem to have attended the ceremony. And it didn’t escape Vice President Biden that many survivors didn’t come – he mentions the absentees in his speech.
It is of course possible that this astonishing absence of the survivors – do they avoid authorities? – has no deeper significance. But there might be more to it – because some of them, especially those from the second bomb site, are also key witnesses in the pending trial against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. And it is an interesting question how many of them have learned of the countless oddities of the official story in general, and of the oddities of the “official” second blast in particular.
As I have argued for long, the most glaring oddity is the epicenter question. According to the criminal complaint and the indictment, Tsarnaev placed his bag at the metal barriers close to the curb, and there’s no reason to have doubts about that. But according to the accounts of several witnesses the bomb exploded right on the patio of the Forum restaurant. So in principle, Miriam Conrad needs to ask the Norden Brothers just one simple question to completely exculpate Dzhokhar: did the bomb hit you from the back or from the front?
Heather Abbott is not shy to speak with the media at all, she has given (and is still giving) a lot of interviews and keeps telling her story that she was standing next to the bomb and thrown through the door inside the Forum. This is also completely inconsistent with the prosecution’s claim that Dzokhar’s bag was the second bomb.
Adrianne Haslet-Davis caused a little scandal recently when she was interviewed by NBC for “Meet the Press”. When asked about Dzhokhar, she started crying, left the scene and later complained via Twitter that the journalists broke a prior agreement not to ask her about the alleged bomber. She’s also an eyewitness, and it is well imaginable that bad emotions were not the only reason for setting these conditions, but also the potential relevance of her answers for the trial.
Both Abbott and Haslet-Davis have mentioned the “community of survivors”. They are in contact with each other and exchange information. April 15th was a good opportunity to meet, especially for those who are living far away, like the Hern Family. According to media reports, the survivors availed themselves of this opportunity. So if any of the survivors has become skeptical of the official story, he might have told some of the others. We can take for sure that noone of them wants to have Dzhokhar killed by a needle for a crime he didn’t commit.
On April 16th, one day after the anniversary, a status hearing in the Tsarnaev case took place. Jane24 has noticed that fewer survivors were there and that they were distinctly more reluctant to speak with the media. Again, this might be of no significance. But it might also point to the fact that more and more survivors get aware that they are not only victims, but also key witnesses.