Mother Jones as the amazing story behind the cowboy hat-clad man seen in this cropped photo escorting an injured man across the finish line at the Boston marathon yesterday.
The photo was cropped by the Washington Post because the uncropped version, which you’ve probably seen by now, shows that the man in the wheelchair had both of his legs blown off below the knees in the explosion. There are other photos of this taken immediately after the explosion that are far more graphic which I won’t link to here but you can find on imgur if you’re so inclined.
Here’s the story of Carlos Arredondo, the man in the cowboy hat, from Tasneem Raja of Mother Jones.
One of the responders in the photograph—the man in the cowboy hat—has been identified as Carlos Arredondo, a Costa Rican immigrant whose Marine son died in action in Iraq in 2004. The day he learned of his son’s death, Arredondo locked himself in a van with five gallons of gasoline and a propane torch and set the van on fire. He survived, became a peace activist, and was among the spectators who rushed toward the fumes after the explosion today. After tying a tourniquet onto the young man’s legs and wheeling him past the finish line to emergency help, Arredondo, seen badly shaken and trembling in this video, gripping a small American flag drenched in blood, talks to some bystanders on the street about the explosion:
According to Mother Jones, Arredondo’s other son also committed suicide because of depression several years after his brother’s death.
An immigrant man who has been through far more hardship in his life than most people ever experience, losing both of his sons to the Iraq War, didn’t have a second thought as he immediately ran toward the scene and began removing parts of the security barrier (Jones also has video of this) before escorting a badly-injured man to emergency responders.
And while the right wing tells me yesterday’s bombing should serve as a cautionary tale against immigration, Arredondo demonstrates that immigration is one of the nation’s greatest assets. We are better off because of men like him.