'There was initial confusion and panic. Some runners fell to the floor while police and bystanders ran to help those caught in the blast'.
A video clip also shows people rushing in to help victims immediately after the blast, and bystanders joining with race officials, police, and military personnel to remove fencing and help the injured. There is also evidence of individual bystanders with no specialist role on the day putting themselves at risk to help others, and gawker focusses on the actions of a Costa Rican peace activist who was in the vicinity. This fits with studies of mass emergencies that have found that uninjured bystanders can often become 'zero-responders' by helping casualties before the emergency services arrive (Cocking, In Press; Cole et al, 2011)
Finally, coverage by the BBC on the day after the attacks explores the parallels drawn between this incident and 9/11, and alludes to a sense of solidarity amongst Bostonians, with a marathon runner saying; "terrible things do bring people together". There is also emphasis on the sense of defiance amongst joggers the following morning . I think that this shows how an initial narrative of vulnerability presented by the media can quickly shift into a narrative of resilience, despite the apparent inconsistency between the two perspectives.
John Drury looked in his blog post at how differring narratives of the 7/7 London Bombings emerged in their aftermath, and of the possible implications that maintaining each narrative could have. We also developed this idea in an upcoming paper about the Hillsborough football disaster (Cocking & Drury, in Press), where we argued that assuming vulnerable responses amongst crowds and communities affected by disasters could result in them being treated in ways that could stifle any potential resilience from emerging. I believe that the scenes of courage and altruism that happened in Boston yesterday illustrate the remarkable resilient potential that people have to cope with such horrific incidents and hope that such narratives will prevail rather than assuming that selfish 'panicked' behaviour is the dominant response.