Like many, I feel compelled to comment on the explosions at the finish line of the Boston Marathon today. I have heard more stories than I would like about similar acts of violence. Most of them involve school shootings. It is easy to blanket them with generalizing statements like, “My God, that’s awful” or “My heart goes out to their friends and loved ones.” I don’t believe the broad and repetitive nature of such comments undermines them. What else can you say to such a thing? At least when you’re distant.
Things change when you’re closer, though. I am only slightly closer to this event than I was to past ones because my brother is an avid runner and has been training for that very marathon. I am at a loss for words to express how fortunate I am that he was not ready this year. That taste of fear has torn open a new world of empathy for people who were there, or had loved ones there. I’ve read stories of chaos, fear, injuries, dismemberment and death. There simply aren’t words to express how I feel for them. For once, I don’t have adequate words.
How does one react to these things? For some, fear comes first. For others, anger. Human nature drives us to a system of so-called balance; “An eye for an eye.” I don’t believe the Hammurabi Code is balance at all. Violence is not a solution to violence. It only leads to escalation. It fixes nothing. But anger is natural and it was my initial reaction. My brother urged me to run my first 10k with him less than a month ago. I was thrown into the running culture and found it to be an example of humanity at its best. People of all origins, ages and belief systems gathering peacefully for a sport where you’re only competing against yourself. It angered me that something so innately noble, beneficial and completely harmless was the victim to such violence. I was enraged and overcome as I read about runners who would not have their legs before night came. I was heartbroken to know that others, children, never left with their lives.
In spite of what fear or anger you might feel, I urge you to take account of the scope of such happenings and to consider the power of the media through which you learn about them. That very escalation is multiplied by media coaxing us into courses of action that empower the people responsible for such acts of violence. The more we react by tightening security and showing fear, the more powerful those people become. Consider the timelines of events like these when you vote, when you alter your lifestyle for safety, when you go about your day. I have heard some talk that this is also becoming a gun control issue. I fail to understand how this, a bomb explosion, has anything to do with guns, and urge people further to pay attention to the matters at hand and put their personal agendas on hold in times like these. Lastly I want to remind people to check their sources and gather information from multiple outlets before deciding they know what happened. The only people who know for sure are those who were there.
Again, I don’t have the words, but I’ll do my best: My best and sincerest wishes to anyone involved. Please keep your heads up and your spirits strong. Runners like you are inspirational to more people and in more ways than you may know.
Thanks for reading