As images from the carnage in Boston continue to surface — of missing legs, of fallen men — so, too, has the truth behind some of the most memorable among them, however horrific or human. This is the truth we know so far.
The man in grey up there, in the wheelchair, clutching the spindly remains of his legs while being pushed to safety by first responders — that man is named Jeff Bauman Jr., and thanks to a combination of social media, Reddit, and Google People Finder, we've found out that he's in stable condition. One of his friends posted an update on Reddit:
Another posted what is reportedly an update from his father's Facebook feed Monday night, which confirms that Bauman was in surgery:
The Lowell (Massachusetts) Sun has contacted Jeff's father, waiting to hear back. You might recall that in the wake of the Aurora shootings, survivors and family members used Reddit to get updates and spread the news.
Update, 1:02 p.m. Eastern: Jeff's father has confirmed that his son had both his legs amputated and is doing better. He apparently came out of surgery at 2:30 a.m. Tuesday morning:
Update, 8:49 p.m.: The New York Times's Tim Rohan has pretty much the only story you need to read about the Bauman family tonight.
The Hero in the Cowboy Hat:
About that other guy up there — his name is Carlos Arredondo, and he has two dead sons. Arredondo was at the Boston Marathon because he is the father of a fallen soldier named Alexander Arredondo, according to Maine's Portland Press Herald. Alexander had died fighting in Iraq in 2004, The New York Times's Trymaine Lee reported in 2007, and that trauma turned his father, a Costa Rican immigrant, into a peace activist. That trauma also shook his brother Brian, who killed himself in December of 2011. The Boston Globe reported at the time:
“I used to say, ‘Brian, I see through that smile. People don’t understand what’s going on with you with that smile,’ ’’ said his stepmother, Melida Arredondo of Roslindale. “That smile could hide a lot.’’
At a funeral Mass Dec. 28 in St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Jamaica Plain, Carlos said simply: “We both refused to admit that we had mental problems.’’
There were a handful of Mainers who were running in the marathon for fallen soldiers, and the 52-year-old Arredondo was there supporting those runners and remembering his son. And he also displayed courage that wasn't captured by photos. The Portland Press Herald's David Hench and Glenn Jordan report:
The two friends crossed the street and Mixon started ripping away the snow fence and scaffolding to get at the victims. Arredondo vaulted it and tried using his clothes and towels to stanch the victims' bleeding but they were hurt too badly.
Of the photo — and his encounter with Bauman — Arredondo said: "I kept talking to him. I kept saying, 'Stay with me, stay with me.'"
The Old Man and the Finish Line
The Old Man:
By now, you've probably this man in orange. That's 78-year-old Bill Iffrig. You can also see him if you look closely at videos from the finish line: He stumbles; he is the man knocked to his feet. Iffrig, as CNN reports, was just about to finish forty-sixth marathon when he got hit by the blast's shockwave:
"I got down to within 15 feet of the finishing apron and just tremendous explosion, sounded like a bomb went off right next to me ... The shock waves just hit my whole body and my legs just started jittering around. I knew I was going down and so I ended up down on the blacktop." said Iffrig.
One of the Boston police officers in the photo, on the far right, has been identified as Javier Pagan, the PBD liaison to the LGBT community, reports The Dallas Voice:
Officer Pagan’s husband, Pedro, is a retired sergeant from the New York Police Department who rescued many people when the Twin Towers collapsed on Sept. 11, 2001, according to a recent profile of Pagan by a Boston CrossFit site.
Pagan has not commented on the photo.
We'll be updating this post throughout the day to give you the stories behind Monday's shocking and indellible photos. Click here for complete coverage.