The bomb explosions at the Boston Marathon were a form of terrorism, by most definitions of the term. The devices that went off near the finish line Monday were obviously designed to harm innocent people, and also to create chaos and fear among the broader public.
Yet simply denouncing the incidents as terrorism, or demanding that others do so, doesn’t help the investigation. Was the bombing the work of a single deranged plotter, domestic extremists, or an organized group overseas? Why did the perpetrator or perpetrators target Boston? Will they try to strike again, and when? These are the questions that matter, and the terms that news organizations or elected leaders use in describing the Marathon attack should not alter the response one iota.