Boston Bomber suspect Dzokhar Tsarnaev (with the help of his late brother Tamerlan) stands accused of a terrible crime, setting off two bombs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. What the two did, though, wasn’t nearly as heinous, in terms of body counts and other damage as bombings by certain others.
One of those other bombers managed to kill and maim people for 18 years before he was caught. Three died and 23 were injured. His name is Ted Kaczynski, also known as the Unabomber.
Another set off a bomb on April 19, 1995, in Oklahoma City that killed 168 people and injured more than 680, and blew up the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. At the time, chasing the perpetrator of that explosion became the largest criminal investigation in American history. The primary perpetrator in Oklahoma City was Timothy McVeigh, assisted by Terry Nichols and others.
And then there were the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon that took 2,996 lives, did billions in damage and injured at least 3,000. Osama bin Laden, the mastermind behind those attacks, was killed in 2011 by American Navy SEALs in a nighttime raid on bin Laden’s headquarters in Pakistan.
The thing all bombings have in common is that they come as a complete surprise to the victims. Nobody at the Boston Marathon had any idea that bombs would go off while runners and spectators enjoyed the event. There was no warning in Oklahoma City. Bombings on 9/11 were a total surprise. Even after the first plane hit the first of the twin towers, people thought there had been a terrible accident — not an attack.
In all cases, the perpetrators felt that bombing totally innocent people would somehow exact revenge for what they perceived as great wrongs. In that regard, they were crazy. That kind of craziness is hard to defend against.