It wasn't long after the world got the shocking news of the Boston Marathon bombings, which reportedly killed three people and injured almost 200, that Twitter was abuzz with the phrase "man on the roof." A picture went viral of a shadowy figure walking on the roof of a nearby building (seen in the top left corner of this photo) at the time that the second bomb went off. Twitter sleuths noted that the man "wasn't reacting" to the devastation of the explosion directly below him and speculation ran rampant that he could be a suspect.
The picture was taken by college student Dan Lampariello, who was about 200 feet from the finish line when terror struck. "I could feel the ground shake," he told the media. The media picked up Dan's posted picture, and began referring to the man on the roof as a "person of interest" and a "mystery man." The hashtag #manonroof began trending. But authorities, including the FBI, refuse to say whether the man is of any interest or not.
Long before the Internet, conspiracy theories proliferated. "Grassy knoll" theories in the John F. Kennedy assassination happened way before Twitter. They can just get around quicker now and reach a wider audience. Conspiracy theories have already started regarding the attack in Boston, with some "truthers" claiming that the government is behind it all. (They're behind everything, dontcha know.)
The only real reported suspect is a Saudi Arabian national that the New York Post says is being watched over at a Boston hospital. Reportedly, the man was covered in burns shortly after the explosions. It remains to be seen if this was a guy who just happened to be caught up in the melee.
As for the "guy on the roof," what is captured in the photo is a guy walking, and the image captures him for a split second, and the photo was taken from very far away. We have no idea if he was reacting or not. We don't know what happened in the instant before the photo, or the instant after. Additionally, he does seem to be walking towards the event -- so what about him is "not reacting"?
But with so little news coming out about who may have been responsible for this vicious act of terror, people seem to have the need to cling on to something, anything, that makes us feel like we might know what's going on. Humans are like that. Our fear of the unknown drives us to try to bend the random cruelty of the world into something we can understand -- and thus control.
But we know nothing. Yet.
Do you think the man on the roof had anything to do with this?
Image via Dan Lampriello/Twitter