Memory Hole has a good many sharp readers and comment contributors. This detailed set of observations was submitted as a lengthy comment and addresses unusual elements of the far-less-photographed second bombing site. Given its especially important points I have requested the author’s permission to present the commentary as a guest post, to which she agreed provided her anonymity is preserved.-JT
1. In this photo of the second blast site a metal barrier is apparently thrown against the grey mailbox with such force that it bent at roughly a 90-degree angle. Why wasn’t the mailbox even slightly dented by the impact of the bomb and/or the metal fencing?
2. The direction of the bend (along with the absence of other structural damage) seems to imply that the bomb was immediately behind the left corner of the fence. Yet in this well-circulated picture, the bomb is claimed to be in front of the fence.
And in the highly-publicized photo of the second blast, the ordnance appears to be a significant distance from the street, perhaps on the patio of the Forum Restaurant. Indeed, according to the Forum’s management, “the second bomb exploded right on our patio.” If this is the case, is the bent fence a stage prop?
3. In the first photo above, one metal barrier is curled around the mailbox; the nearest one next to it is immediately behind the Tow Zone sign. But in the second photo, we see that there was another section of fencing between them. What happened to that section? It doesn’t appear in any of the post-blast photos. Did it vaporize?
4. In this photo, which appears to show Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in the background, a blue US postal box is seen leaning up against the grey one.
NOTE: The author stands corrected with this portion of the post. Subsequent investigation has shown that this photo was not taken next to the second bomb site. Rather, it appears to have been taken further west of the site, outside 883 Boylston St.
5. After the smoke has cleared and the victims (including, reportedly, 8-year-old Martin Richard) are lying dead or bleeding on the ground. Yet the faces of the people around them aren’t grim, shocked or anguished–-they’re calm and matter-of-fact. Are these people unaware of the child’s death? Is no one disturbed at the scale of tragedy?
If everything except the first explosion is real, then here’s another puzzling fact: CNN interviewed the same woman both at the marathon, and at the alleged shootout with the Tsarneav brothers in Watertown.
Look especially at 0:34-0:40 and 1:36-1:39. What are the odds that this woman was in both places by accident? Even more improbably, there’s video footage suggesting that this same woman was interviewed about Nancy Lanza in connection with the Sandy Hook incident.
On the other hand, this photo from shortly after the blast, as well as the photo from the following day, shows that some, if not all, of the ground-floor windows were entirely intact at the Forum after the bomb went off in front of it.
The New York Times reports that two windows were blown out at the Forum (http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2013/04/17/us/caught-in-the-blast-at-the-boston-marathon.html?ref=us&_r=0). However, this may be an error; the panels lacking glass in the photo actually seem to be open doorways, not broken windows. Google Maps shows that all the glass panels along the front of the restaurant are narrow and door-sized; in the photos above, the gaps are twice as wide, with no door frames separating the missing glass panels. So we can reasonably conclude that the doors were simply open.
In fact, another look at that photo taken the next day seems to show that the missing door panels have been slid or (more likely) folded sideways, to a position either behind or in front of the adjacent door panels–note the double white line along the two panes of glass. There seems to be some glass on the ground in the next-day photo, but it is not clear where it comes from. No broken glass is seen at the edges of any of the visible door frames.
If the doors were instead open at a right angle to the sidewalk when the blast occurred, the blast likely would not have broken their windows. Bombs break glass because of a pressure wave that proceeds outwardly from the blast; if there was shrapnel, presumably that could break glass too. But if the blast was well in front of the restaurant, near the casualties, and the patio doors were open perpendicular to the sidewalk, the pressure wave and shrapnel would have been traveling mostly parallel to the glass, so it probably wouldn’t have broken.
If anything, we would have expected the closed ground-floor windows at the Forum to break, rather than (a) the open windows, (b) a second-floor window, or (c) a window next door at the Starbucks. Why do we see something different?
*”Skeptical” lives in Canada, is the mother of two small children, and has a damn good job. She is extremely fond of Boston, having lived there for several years, and still has many dear friends there. She has been observing news reports skeptically since watching Michael Moore’s film Farenheit 9/11, but the Boston Marathon bombing crossed a personal line, and has changed her from a consumer of knowledge into a contributor.