Not that anything I might have to say really matters, but I wanted to comment on the bombings that took place yesterday, mostly for my own need to make some sense of things. So for very selfish reasons, I offer these words.
Yesterday, two explosions rocked the finishing area of the Boston Marathon. Three people were killed, including an 8 year old boy, and close to 140 were injured. Several of those lost limbs. Things could have been much worse, though they were plenty bad.
We live in a world of instant information. It takes less than a minute for most incidents like this to go across the world and back, images of broken bodies, blood and carnage, fear, chaos, agony, they were instantly and graphically available. I almost couldn’t look away. News media was instantly demanding answers, as if they were just lying about among the wounded, waiting to be uncovered and read, like clues in a movie.
Cable news networks made things worse, as they usually do, offering a continual slide show of images and video, while pundits rambled on about motive, speculating over and over about who might have done this, how many, might have been involved. Most disturbing to me was a conversation on MSNBC about how this could have been prevented. More security, more surveillance, more restrictions on who was allowed to be near the runners.
More fear, always more fear.
I add my voice to the countless others, many of who were near the incident or at the marathon itself. We choose not to be afraid, choose not to dwell on the negative, but find comfort and solace in focusing on the hundreds of people who were quick to help the injured, despite obvious danger, most likely saving numerous lives. The video shows one thing clearly-Seconds after the blasts, people rushed without hesitation to help. These people were not just emergency personnel. They were regular, everyday people, watching the end of a race one minute, then providing life saving aid the next. There were many others who offered assistance to confused and displaced runners at other places along the race route, offering the use of cell phones to contact loved ones, some giving them clothing right off their backs.
For all the comments about how cold and callous, how detached our culture is becoming, tragedy reveals our capacity for compassion. I find hope in this. It keeps me from wanting to give up.
There will always be those who for whatever messed up reason, wish to cause pain, inspire fear, harm others, but there will always be exponentially more of us to counteract them. I need to remember that.