Today’s insane crime of bombing the Back Bay’s streets would be horrific at any time. But it was a particularly appalling contrast with the backdrop of the Boston Marathon, the Patriots’ Day holiday and sunny weather.
Jamaica Plain has seen that horrific contrast before. Five years ago, on Patriots’ Day 2008, a man was shot to death in broad daylight in the busy Southwest Corridor Park.
The brazen killing of 20-year-old Luis Troncoso on a basketball court near the Stony Brook T Station, where the annual Wake Up the Earth Festival is held, shook the neighborhood badly. Traumatized residents at the time especially noted the “surreal” contrast between the senseless violence and the nice weather, the fun setting, the holiday and the usual celebratory air of Marathon Monday.
The JP killing was nothing like today’s bombing in the scale of devastation and its violence did not have the added horror of random victims. No one was ever charged with killing Troncoso, but police and prosecutors have said it was gang-related.
But it was a traumatic time for the neighborhood and all of Boston now may end up coping in similar ways. Neighbors met repeatedly, struggling to make sense of the crime and what it said about our world. Experts advised them on how to talk to children about the horrendous news. And residents asked themselves the unanswerable question of when they would again feel safe to enjoy a fun public place.