No offense to Bradley Cooper, but I’m talking about the gentleman in the hospital bed, Jeff Bauman. Bauman was the individual we saw in the wheelchair immediately after the bombings with horrific injuries–missing both of his lower legs.
Despite being in the kind of pain most of us could barely imagine, this man managed to wake up in his hospital bed–while being heavily sedated–and immediately wrote down: “bag, saw the guy, looked right at me.” Bauman was even able to give a description to the FBI, describing the suspect as wearing “a cap, sunglasses and a black jacket over a hooded sweatshirt.” And this part kills me: Bauman said he locked eyes with the attacker as he placed the bomb in a bag at the finish line. Barely two minutes later, the bomb exploded.
We have seen so many heroic actions in the aftermath of this tragedy. Individuals with evil intent always want to take us down into the dark void where they live–a place where no true meaning can survive (despite all their claims or wild statements). And then we hear about people like Bauman, and we see the bravery of our first responders, not to mention the marathon runners taking the shirt off their back to make tourniquets…..
The bombers thought they were setting the stage for terror, horror, and chaos. What they really set the stage for was heroism, bravery, kindness, and fearlessness. In a photo essay done by Johannes Hirn, Tamerlan Tsarnaev commented, “I don’t have a single American friend, I don’t understand them.” And how could he.
Tsarnaev was killed last night in the shoot out with police, but I like to think about the glance he exchanged with Bauman. Tsarvaev may not have understand Americans, but Bauman understood full well who Tsarnaev was, and what he represents. I like to think Tsarnaev realized this as the two men exchanged that fateful glance–a split second that eventually sealed Tsarnaev’s fate.