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If we are supposed to live in interesting times, we have spent an "interesting" week. Like most of you probably, I have been glued to the television and Internet coverage of the tragedy in Boston. I have following along with the tragedy, completely confused as to how two young men with what would seem so much to live for could commit such an act. Unfortunately that has not been all I have been following. I have family who live near Waco Texas and have also been riveted by the difficulties there. (a historical tragedy is that Waco will always be remembered for what happened ten years ago, when in fact it is a beautiful lush college town, the home of Baylor University and it's huge hospital system)
I have wanted to write something, but my thoughts have been less than coherent and distracted each time. It's a difficult time for many. For twenty six years, I lived in Arlington, Virginia. My husband worked at Fort Meade (immediately next to the Pentagon and Arlington Cemetery). We lived down the bike path from the Pentagon and during my brief working years I was an assistant manager at a health club near the Pentagon. While the Pentagon is not the World Trade Center, the difficulties there were extensive. My son was locked into a classroom for twelve hours. The ground shook, there was fire. People from as far away as the capitol had to walk home because things came to a standstill. My son had friends who lost parents, my husband lost friends and acquaintances and because of his position facilitated funerals on a daily basis for months. Every day, we drove by a gaping hole that was a reminder-both of how bad it was, and frankly, how much worse it could have been.
When I think about Boston, my thoughts are formed by that experience as well as others overseas of my family and friends (my parents spent the height of the IRA era and the period of the Iran embassy hostage crisis living int he center of London).........and in no particular order:
- First, my thoughts and prayers go out to all the people involved, be they victims, investigators or just residents of Boston. This too shall pass.
- No matter our differences, communities and the country seem to come together when these kinds of situations occur. So although our congressmen and senators cant agree on the price of tea in China from day to day, there is hope! My brother in law in Texas ran an "honor Boston" marathon today, just as an example.
- The best way to honor those who have died is to continue to live joyously and not give into fear. It's also the best revenge. Tonight was a perfect example. People in Watertown were willing, eager even, to leave their homes and walk their dogs. While they stayed holed up at the government's behest, they were more than ready to walk out of there homes afterwards. Whatever the purpose, wherever this originated, we should learn something from those Euro countries like England and "keep calm and carry on". Becoming more fearful, changing our routines-this only helps the people who did this.
- The people who did this are just that, two people (or perhaps more), but they are NOT a religion, or a country. It's wise at times like this to remember this, as well as the fact that the second worst terrorist act in this country is still one committed by a blond haired, blue eyed, corn fed, homegrown American boy 20 years ago today.
- I'm not sure if it's brave or crazy, but if I went out my door and saw tear in my boat wrap that wasn't there two hours ago, I darned sure would NOT grab a ladder and look to see what happened. I would flee first and ask the questions later. Oh, and I sure hope this guy gets a new boat!!!!!!
- I'm feeling REALLY ambivalent about the media, especially television. One the one hand I am sure they were extremely helpful in sharing images and information that helped catch the guys who did this. On the other hand, I listened to a network news anchor talk to the same three residents on the phone, and ask the same question over an hour period this evening-at least three times over! I also have to wonder if the constant news presence feeds the frenzy of the terrorists who do things like this.
- While I'm talking about the media, it does seem to me that social media is over the top, and often inaccurate. What's more, so called news stations are relying on soical media and u tube information and presenting it as fact.
- I am in awe of the various government agencies involved in this, for a variety of reasons. First, they all put aside their differences and managed to work together efficiently, even during those times when it looked chaotic from the outside. Secondly, because they obviously made a very committed decision to capture the second individual alive, when there were plenty of opportunities to do otherwise. They made the decision to find out the extent of the threat, rather than give in and shoot back.
- Terrorists are not born, they are made. This is something that especially hits me, as a mother of a college age son. How does a sweet average child turn into a terrorist, someone willing to kill endless amounts of people and often themselves. In this case, I have to wonder what was done to these boys and their families in the name of nationalism, racial superiority and God knows what else that changed these "nice average boys" into something else.
- Finally, I pray for all the firefighters and families in Texas. I pray as well that the cause of this explosion, no matter how devastating, is more benign that the ones on Boston.