Two weekends ago, Carlos Hernandez dropped by the Richards' house for an Easter celebration. Bill Richard was the brother of Hernandez's sister-in-law, but the extended family was pretty close. Hernandez calls Richard "my brother" and remembers Richard's son, 8-year-old Martin, playing as the grown-ups talked.
"The kid was running around, enjoying himself," said Hernandez. "Not anymore."
Martin Richard was killed in yesterday's bombings at the Boston Marathon. A picture of the kid holding a homemade sign--"No More Hurting People"--has become iconic in the aftermath of the disaster.
Very early on, a few observers pointed out that April 15, Patriots' Day, has some significance to right-wing groups. That made Hernandez angry. He's the statewide organizer for the Massachusetts Tea Party. After he realized what happened in Boston, he wrote a blog post about the killing of his nephew, tagging it with the terms "Al Qaeda," "Obama's America 2016," and "Terrorism." But when I talked to Hernandez, he didn't blame any one politician.
"My brother's fighting off the damn politicians trying to get a photo op," said Hernandez. "If these guys had been doing what they were supposed to do, instead of being politically correct ... "
He trailed off. Hernandez had heard early rumors that the attack might have been carried out by foreign nationals, and if that were true, he'd have more questions. In the meantime, he was wary of people in politics and media who'd ask whether the Tea Party had anything to do with the attack. Of course it didn't.
"I just hope the politicians don't try to show up at the funeral," said Hernandez. "If these guys try to use it as political crap, I might get arrested."
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