The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

April 17, 2013

In terror’s wake, a child’s haunting message of peace

By Dave Ruthenberg, Sports Editor
Enid News and Eagle

— They were there to watch a race and cheer on the participants, celebrating Boston’s annual Patriot’s Day holiday.

He was there with his dad, his mom, his little sister and older brother. They had just gotten ice cream.

She was there with her best friend and hoped to get a photo of her best friend’s boyfriend crossing the finish line.

Neither would survive Monday’s Boston Marathon bombings.

It is inconceivable how such a monstrous act can happen. Sadly, of course this is something all too many Oklahomans are familiar with, having lived through the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995. It doesn’t make it any easier though, does it?

One witness to Monday’s carnage, Ben Levine, was snapping photos from his office window moments before the blast and then recounted the scene in his blog immediately following: “I looked back out the window and saw that there was now a river of blood running from the bodies. There was so much blood. People were moving – squirming, writhing – in the blood.” He tells of seeing disembodied limbs in the horrific scene.

Around 180 people were injured, some suffering gruesome injuries, including many amputations, from what is now believed to be a pair of pressure-cooker bombs that unleashed a sickening torrent of ball bearings, nails and metal shards.

Eight-year-old Martin Richard’s image has now been seen worldwide via the Internet. A Facebook post shows him holding a sign he made in his classroom with a spunky little smile. The smile a tragic reminder of a life that had so much left to give, now gone.

His mother, Denise, suffered a head injury and his little sister, Jane, is now one of the amputees. His father, Bill, had to have several ball bearings removed from his body. His older brother somehow escaped injury.

“My dear son Martin has died from injuries sustained in the attacks on Boston,” read the beginning of a written statement from Martin’s father. Think of how heartbreaking those words are and what it must feel like to have to author that kind of statement. He went on to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers.

A candle burns on the front porch of the family home as neighbors, friends and family try to deal with the loss for which there is no sensible explanation.

Likewise, the family of 29-year-old restaurant manager Krystle Campbell mourns her loss.

Her father called her the light of his life. “Daddy’s little girl,” he said. Her mom couldn’t get many words out before breaking down into tears.

Campbell’s friend suffered severe injuries to her leg.

This cowardly act of terror must not go unpunished.

Some may call for understanding, even forgiveness. Some may say that’s the Christian thing to do. I too am a Christian, but sorry, I am not that forgiving. For whoever committed this heinous act I have one wish: An eternity of hellish torture upon their wicked soul.

And that sign little Martin Richard made in his classroom? It read “No more hurting people. Peace.”

If only we could have made his wish come true.

RIP little man. RIP.

Ruthenberg is sports editor at the News & Eagle. Contact him at