Posted by: CS | May 28, 2013

Victims of the Boston Marathon Bombing: Real or Fake

The number of those reported killed or injured by the Boston Marathon bombs has varied, but on April 22, the Boston Globe reported 281 casualties including three dead, while on the same date, Reuters gave the slightly smaller total of 264.

But According to Professor James Tracy of Florida Atlantic university these are exorbitant figures differing sharply with the tallies provided on April 23 by the Boston Globe-owned website Boston.com, which listed only 54 bombing victims.

The 230 names added to the overall City of Boston count of April 23 appear, says Tracy, “to be phantom victims who might have sought care for modest injuries in the week following the incident but for which no records have been made publicly available.”

Curiously, Tracy then quotes what he calls the “arguably excessive” eyewitness account of Roupen Bastajian, an off-duty Rhode Island State Trooper who told the Associated Press that on hearing the first detonation.

I started running toward the blast. And there were people all over the floor. We started grabbing tourniquets and started tying legs. A lot of people amputated. … At least 25 to 30 people have at least one leg missing, or an ankle missing, or two legs missing.

Since Tracy fails to explain why he calls this account “excessive,” it can be taken to corroborate media reports of a large final casualty count. In particular, it establishes that there was a substantial number of serious injuries at the location of just one of the two explosions, consistent with a final count of serious plus lighter injuries resulting from both explosion mounting into the hundreds.

In sum, Tracy concludes with seeming illogic, “the photos, videos, stories and figures comprising the mediated Boston Marathon bombings do not add up and suggest elements of a manufactured event.”

If, however, we turn to Tracy’s MemoryHole Blog, we do find a rationale for the belief in “elements of a manufactured event.” There we find a lengthy post analyzing photographic evidence suggesting that broadcast scenes of blood and mayhem are, in fact, pictures of actors, fake blood and phony heroics.

It is, therefore, a question of importance whether, as Professor Tracy contends, the injury toll from the Boston Marathon Bombings  were inflated if not entirely fictitious.

In that connection we have the testimony of Professor Michael B. Yaffe, David H. Koch Professor of Biology and Biological Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Chief Scientific Editor of the journal Science Signaling, who gave an interview to Science magazine concerning his experience on the day of the Boston Marathon Bombings.

Beside his role as a scholar, Professor Yaffe holds a position as a trauma surgeon at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, where he was summoned to attend victims of the bombings.

Concerning that day’s events at the Beth Israel Medical Center, Professor Yaffe stated:

There were a total of 25 patients … a number had traumatic amputations … Extremities missing. Many of them had combinations of injuries: broken bones, soft tissue injuries with significant tissue loss. Some burns. A lot of … it was pretty horrendous.

In response to a question about the role his scientific background played, professor Yaffe remarked:

When you take care of polytrauma patients you have to think integratively, because it is not just a broken bone or a laceration. You have to think about … all the interactions between [body] systems …

So here we have a top surgeon and a science scholar talking about the science behind the care of the Boston Marathon Bombings victims. That Professor Yaffe spoke to Science in his capacity not only as a surgeon but as a scientist is of relevant to the question of what really happened that day, because there is a rule of scientific discourse that no one is assumed to lie.

A scientist may be as dumb as a bag of hammers, or as mistaken about simple facts as it is possible to be, but it is assumed, among scientists, that another scientist talking as a scientist, however, dumb or plain wrong he may be, is honestly dumb or honestly plain wrong.

The corollary to that assumption, as with the similar assumption applied to parliamentarians, is that if a scientist speaking as a scientist is found beyond reasonable doubt to have deliberately lied about a matter of fact, he has broken a cardinal rule of his profession and is finished as a scientist.

Thus, as a former scientific person with some insight into the scientific mentality, my own conclusion is that Professor Yaffe was not lying through his teeth when he stated that the Beth Israel Hospital handled 25 Marathon Bombings victims, many seriously injured.

But the Beth Israel hospital was only one of Boston’s five level-1 trauma centers that treated victims of the Marathon Bombings. In an interview with a University of British Columbia alumni magazine, Dr. Ron Walls, former Head of Emergency Medicine at UBC, now Chair of the Emergency Department at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, states that 28 patients arrived for treatment at his hospital within the first hour of the emergency, three others arriving later.

Speaking of the emergency vehicle sirens, Walls said:

I’ve never heard anything like it. It was as if every vehicle with a siren turned its siren on and started moving at the same time.

Of the patients, Walls said,

Many had severe blast wounds to their lower bodies and partial amputations. Others had shrapnel wounds, including a penetrating neck injury that threatened the patient’s ability to breath, a head injury, blown ear drums, smoke inhalations and burns. We had patients with … large pieces of the muscle and skin and bone missing… Very bad fractures, the type of fracture you can only get with a tremendous amount of force.

Within minutes, Walls has seven operating rooms and surgical teams available to treat the wounded. None of the patients received died, a fact that Walls attributed to Marathon spectators who staunched wounds and paramedics who applied tourniquets at the bombing sites.

So, what to believe? That the reported casualty figures were “exhorbitant,” or that the top surgeons at two of the five medical centers that received victims of the bombings are honest men of exceptional dedication reporting the truth.

For me the question is easily answered: whoever was behind the Boston Marathon Bombings and whatever their motivation, I accept the testimony of the Scholar, Professor Yaffe, and the distinguished former British Columbian, Dr. Ron Walls, that there were many seriously injured victims, with a total of 56 victims treated at just two of Boston’s five level-1 trauma centers where victims were treated during the first hours after the bombings occurred.

So what of claims that videoed scenes of blood and mayhem were faked? It is a possibility, but to give the hypothesis credibility one needs a rationale for the fakery. But what rationale can there be for faking blood and mayhem if it has been established beyond reasonable doubt that Boston experienced the real thing that day?

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