It’s only a matter of time before we get him/them, dead or alive.

And while we eagerly anticipate that development, until it happens, and we learn more about precisely who these mass murderers are/were and what motivated them to kill, I’m reluctant to draw any conclusions. Save one.

They looked like a couple of college kids.

The sloppy sweatshirts, the jeans, the baseball caps, the backpacks. It’s the standard uniform of the Boston Twentysomething, the ultimate symbol of conformity and normalcy.

They could be the guys at the next table in any Greater Boston sports bar.

Instead, if these are the perps, they’re vicious killers, the sort of “person” who would consciously plant a time bomb next to a family and walk away.

While I’ve never been a critic of the kind of common-sense profiling that suggests an 85-year-old grandmother may be less likely to be a terrorist than a wild-eyed 35-year-old man, this information does tell you that profiling has its limits. As Ann Rule proved in her must-read book about serial killer Ted Bundy, the clean-cut, pleasant stranger beside you may be a bigger threat than you realize.

If this atrocity proves to be an extension of our war with foreign terrorists, so be it. But if it’s something else, remember that evil comes in many flavors, and the devil you know may be easier to comprehend than the one you don’t.


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