The man in the cowboy hat, Carlos Arredondo, immediately ran to the site of the first explosion at the Boston Marathon, leaping barricades to get to the injured.
He helped the man in the wheelchair shown below, Jeff, wrap tourniquets around his badly damaged legs (which have since been amputated), and didn’t leave his side until he absolutely had to.
The remarkable thing is that Carlos himself had tried to end his life in 2004 — when Marines came to his door to tell him that his son had been killed in Iraq, he barricaded himself in his car and set himself on fire. The Marines saved him. His other son, so distraught over and unable to recover from the emotional trauma of his brother’s death, eventually committed suicide. I imagine he has seen some dark hours. I can’t imagine how dark.
He spoke on NPR today with grace and humility. An awareness that if the Marines had not saved him in 2004 Jeff might not have survived on Monday.
Never mind thinness, or perfect features, or flawless skin. Never mind a perfectly honed body or shiny hair.
This man, and his heroic act, is beautiful.
The person or persons who planted the bombs, on the other hand, is the worst kind of coward.
Well, maybe not the worst — worst is someone who arms himself and shoots up a school full of children, and a Congress which refuses to act to try to prevent such a thing from happening again.
I’m almost too disheartened to write this. Am certainly too disheartened to try to make any sense of it all.
I am grateful to Carlos for his heroism, and to the paramedics who died rushing to the rescue at the fertilizer plant explosion, and to all who act in interests other than their own.
I only wish there were more of them, and many, many fewer of the cowards.