Tuesday, April 16, 2013


I don't know how to write about tragedy. I feel conflicted. I want to write but words seem...inconsequential. Unimportant. What happened seems beyond words, beyond explanation and understanding. But what am I going to do? Say 'it's beyond me so screw it, let someone else talk about it'. I could. Others have and will, and will probably sound smarter or have more meaning in their words than mine, but who cares? I decided I want to write about this, so I am. Instead of asking myself "Who am I, to write about such a tragedy?" Or "What can I even say about this horrible event?", I'm just going to write, and ask questions later.

I was going to go to the marathon. I'm on break from working at the school and had nothing better to do while my girlfriend was at work. I figured I'd go, watch a bunch of runners, then meet up with work friends after the red sox game for a beer or two. Ended up taking the wrong train and getting out at the Prudential Center Stop. I was frustrated by that point and tons of people were walking everywhere. It was probably close to 2:00 and I knew the red sox game would be over soon. I also saw tons of runners already done and so wondered if I had missed the majority of it. I figured I'd head over to fenway and meet up with friends.

See, things could have gone very differently. That's something I kept thinking about yesterday. If I'd gotten on the right train, gotten off at the right stop, and realized the majority of the runners would still be running, I very well might have gone to Copley Square to watch the finish line. If I had, and walked by the wrong place at the wrong time...

It's crazy. It happened not a couple miles away. I sat in a bar near fenway while rumors started, everybody was on their phones and finally breaking news scrawling across the bottom of the tv's said there were two explosions at the marathon. That's what I kept thinking yesterday, that a few different choices and I might have been there.

It's selfish. There were people who were there, dead and hurt, with families. People who actually witnessed the explosions and the trauma. I was at a bar drinking a beer. I should not be thinking of me, I should be thinking of those people.

But that's part of what we do when something like this happens. We imagine ourselves in the situation, that could have been us or family or friends. That's how we feel empathy for the victims. We can imagine them as our friends and family and ourselves, and feel at least a part of their pain and sorrow. I'm sorry for any and all involved. The first responders and those who helped in such a crazy fucked-up situation are amazing and should be praised. Those who run towards a disaster, when everyone else is running away, are incredible.

The truth is the vast majority of us are decent people, but with people's access to information and the technology we have now, a very few can hurt very many. It's important to remember we as a species are becoming less and less violent, but the weapons used are becoming more and more potent, more destructive, as well as easy to create on your own. Add that to the all-encompassing media we have now, showing and reshowing brutal clips and pictures, speculating and talking about nothing....It can seem like the world is ending after every terrible catastrophe. But it's not. It's good to remember this in bad times.

Think of the ones who are hurt and hurting, and the ones who helped and are helping. Be nice to people, everyone and everywhere. It's crazy, but we'll deal with it.

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