Senior Danny Plouffe was hanging out in Miller Hall when he found out two bombs exploded at the Boston Marathon April 15, killing three people and injuring 183 others.
The news impacted Plouffe differently than it did for most HU students – Boston is his hometown.
“Someone came up to me and said ‘Danny, I’m so sorry,’” he said. “And I was like ‘What?’ and he said, ‘I just heard about what happened in Boston,’ and I was like ‘What are you talking about?’ and he said, ‘Two bombs went off at the Boston Marathon,’ and I was just like, ‘No. No. Nobody would do that. Nobody would bomb the Boston Marathon.’”
Plouffe said his family lives about 45 minutes outside of Boston in Haverhill, Mass. He has a good friend, however, who lives in Boston and attends Wentworth Institute of Technology. This friend usually works at the marathon as a medical attendant, but decided not to this year because of a heavy homework load, Plouffe said.
“He was just startled and shocked,” he said. “It was so close.”
Plouffe said he has another friend who has run the Boston Marathon before. He was initially concerned his friend may have been running it this year but found out he had not.
The hardest thing to understand, he said, is the reasoning behind the attack.
“It wasn’t destroying anything political, economical,” he said. “It was just an attack on people at a recreational event.”
Plouffe said it has been hard to not be home to be with his friends and family during this time.
“My friends keep saying ‘Crazy stuff is happening in Boston, you need to come home,’” he said. “But obviously I can’t. I have school, but if I didn’t, yeah, I’d probably go home.”
Three days after the bombings, the two suspects, brothers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, allegedly shot and killed a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer. Local police shot Tamerlan, who died in the hospital the next day.
On April 19, police conducted a manhunt in Watertown, Mass., to find Dzhokhar. The public transportation system, most businesses, and many public schools and colleges were shut down, resulting in a deserted urban environment. Plouffe said it was startling to see images of Boston as a ghost town.
“I was really depressed after seeing that,” he said, “I know they are normally filled with cars, just awful places to drive in, and the fact that there was nothing there … it was really sad, really upsetting.”
The purpose of the lockdown was to help the police in their door-to-door hunt for Dzhokhar. He was apprehended alive the night of April 19 after a citizen found him hiding in a trailered boat in his backyard.
Plouffe said he thinks Boston is a strong city and will not be defined because of the bombings.
“Boston has so much more to it than just this,” he said.
He said he refuses to be scared of his hometown.
“It’s shocking that it’s that close to home, but I’m not going to be afraid because of it,” he said. “Boston is pretty hearty.”