Cigarette Break Finds Marathon Bombing Suspect

copyright 2002 Lisa Rainwater

copyright 2002 Lisa Rainwater

The majority of my posts are, admittedly, on my struggles with addiction to nicotine and why I should really give up the habit once and for all. I’m not out to judge anyone else who still smokes. That’s for you and your lungs to work out. If you find what I write to be of help — or of interest — all the better. Rarely, do I sing the praises of smoking (although I could) for that would defeat the purpose of my own personal project.

Yet, today, I find I must. Sing the praises of smoking, that is.

Yes. I must laud the man whose nicotine addiction freed the residents of Boston and her surrounding suburbs from an unprecedented lockdown and allowed our nation’s tenacious police forces to bring Suspect #2 in the Boston Marathon bombings into custody.

Our hero’s name is David Henneberry of Watertown, Massachusetts.

But I’m getting ahead of my story …

I awoke yesterday morning well before the Gulf Coast’s tangerine sunrise and stumbled into the kitchen to make myself a cup of coffee. As the water boiled, I did what I do every morning: scroll through Facebook and Twitter to catch up on all the “exciting” events that occurred while I was trying to steal a bit of insomniac sleep. Most mornings I am greeted by the doldrums of the netosphere: a sleepless in Toledo announcing his sleeplessness at 3 a.m.; a special offer to buy an exercise band at 50% reduction — if I buy NOW, posted at 4 a.m.; a prescheduled announcement by a not-for-profit telling me of yet another horror happening to our waterways, released at 5 a.m.; or a YouTube video of a crazy dog doing crazy things that crazily I choose to watch, launched at 6 a.m..

Boring and tedious, yes. But it is my secret sanctuary to start my uneventful day.

But like many who sought pre-dawn news yesterday morning, I discovered that not all of the Northern hemisphere had been asleep, or trying to sleep, like me. Standing barefoot on my terrazzo floor, wrapped in a kimono, I read with incredulity the shootouts and manhunt that would make Steve McQueen roll over in his grave. (RIP, badass man). And I read, sadly, that M.I.T. officer Sean A. Collier, 26, was dead.

I’m not a morning television news junkie. Nor a dinner television news junkie. Nor an after hours television news junkie.

Bring me Walter Cronkite, or, yes, Dan Rather, and maybe, just maybe I could watch a 30-minute broadcast. But today’s cable news wonks, regardless of political persuasion, catapult me to my Catholic parochial school days where nuns purposefully screeched chalk on the board just to make sure we were listening. And the pundits’ hair is just as gray as the nuns who forced me to listen.

I took my coffee and swiftly went to the den, where I typically read in the mornings, and turned on the television. I, like so many others, was drawn into the crazed events of the last eight hours and felt a shroud of paralyzation cover me like mold on a week-old tomato.

But nothing happened. There were reporters screaming into cameras, wind blowing their unkempt hair, telling us that something was about to happen … but it took another twelve hours and a man with a yen for a smoke to blow things out of the water.

Enter Mr. Henneberry, who stepped outside after untold aggravating hours of being housebound to feed his addiction.

An addiction that changed the story and made our freedoms just a little bit safer.

At 6 p.m. Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick released folks back into the streets, and Mr. Henneberry stepped outside to light a smoke. (As a smoker, I wonder how he held out all day, with the nail biting, potentially life-threatening events unfolding all around him.) And in so doing, Mr. Henneberry saw his boat, docked for winter on a trailer, seemingly askance. The tarp was pulled back, the ties cut. The “See something, Say Something” that we as Americans have tattooed on our tongues since 9/11 compelled him to investigate. What he found was a body lying in a pool of blood at the belly of his 22-foot pleasure cruiser. He ran into the house, called 911, and within an hour Suspect #2 was apprehended.

If it hadn’t been for Mr. Henneberry’s yen for a cigarette, who knows how long it would have taken to discover the injured suspect — dead or alive.

I’m not saying we all need to return to our smoking habits — or, god forbid, pick it up now as an homage to the man who saved the day — but it got me thinking that sometimes, this nicotine addiction thing isn’t half-ass bad.