A terror bombing at the Boston Marathon, an explosion at a Texas fertilizer factory and tainted mail in Washington, D.C. have made for an unsettling week. Throw in anniversaries of some of America's most tragic and traumatic days -- Virginia Tech, Oklahoma City, Columbine, Waco -- and it becomes downright creepy.
It's apparently all a cosmic coincidence -- with none of this week's events seemingly connected to each other or the past.
But they've triggered a flood of ugly emotions and memories.
On Monday, when twin bombs went off seconds apart at the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday, it immediately rekindled the feelings of Sept. 11, 2001, when twin hijacked airplanes flew into New York's twin towers minutes apart. Spectators recounted how they thought the first explosion might have been an accident, a celebratory cannon or fireworks. But when they heard the second explosion they knew it was a deliberate act. "Just like when the second plane hit the World Trade Center," was a common refrain from spectators.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, when authorities said letters possibly tainted with the poison ricin had been intercepted in Washington, D.C., meant for President Obama and a Mississippi Senator, it triggered memories of the deadly anthrax mail attacks in the weeks that followed 9-11. The FBI concluded those 2001 attacks were carried out by a government scientist, who later committed suicide while under investigation, but doubts about that conclusion persist. The latest mailings resulted in an arrest Wednesday, of a Mississippi Elvis impersonator.
On Wednesday, when a Texas fertilizer plant near Waco caught fire and then exploded catastrophically, it brought back memories of several ugly events from that region.
There was the April 19, 1995 bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City, in which domestic terrorist Timothy McVeigh used fertilizer bombs to kill 168.
And then there was the April 19, 1993 federal raid on the Branch Davidian compound near Waco. The raid, after a lengthy siege, concluded with a massive fire that killed 76.
The latest tragedy in Texas has brought widespread devastation, with the number of deaths and injuries still being tallied. It's also unknown whether this was simply an industrial accident, or something else. Authorities say they are treating it as "a crime scene" until more is known.
This week, we also mark anniversaries of some of America’s most heinous mass shootings, Virginia Tech and Columbine High.
On April 16, 2007, a disturbed student went on a shooting rampage at the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, Va., killing 32 before taking his own life.
On April 20, 1999, a pair of students from Columbine High, on the outskirts of Denver, went on a shooting rampage, killing 13, before they took their own lives.