I’m sorry to interrupt the sporadic posting with this. I’ve been working on another post off and on for a few days now, stealing time here and there to get to it, however I have to say this.
What happened in Boston yesterday was a tragedy. I’m not sure how I feel about it, it being so surreal. I followed live update threads for hours, watched a few videos, checked articles, and still at the end of the day, it didn’t feel real. I felt disconnected from it, and Boston is sort of my back yard. My girlfriend had a friend near the finish line until 2 hours before the bomb went off. Another friend of my mother’s was a massage therapist for the runners near the finish. Finally, another friend has an EMT in the family who was on the scene. All lived. All are fine.
I can’t say I didn’t have a reaction though. I was actually watching the news when the first reports went on the air, and my first thought was this. Don’t let it be someone from the Middle-East. Now, I’m white. I’ll admit it. Nerdy, awkward and everything that goes with it. My first thoughts weren’t how many people were hurt, what happened, or what’s going to happen. I wanted it to be the random act of a crazy person. I don’t think the United States knows how to handle terrorism, and maybe I’m in the minority on this thought process, but we don’t. We put systems in place like the TSA, and draft laws like the Patriot Act, or the one that lets the President use drones to assassinate people. It’s not a healthy response.
Of the responses I’ve seen so far though, I have to appreciate these the most.
The first is a quote from Mr. Rogers, who says, “In times of tragedy, look for the helpers.” Follow this up with a quote from Patton Oswalt. “When you spot violence, or bigotry, or intolerance or fear or just garden-variety misogyny, hatred or ignorance, just look it in the eye. Think, ‘The good outnumber you, and we always will.'”
So many people rushed to the scene to help out, that it’s comforting to know that the actions of a few are clearly outnumbered by the good, and those willing to help. Instead of hiding in terror, we should seek comfort in the actions of others, and know that we are stronger than anything these people can do to us.
The second reaction that impressed me was the Boston Comic Con, which was scheduled for April 20th and 21st at 900 Boylston St. in Boston. The explosives went off around 600 Boylston, so you can probably guess that it would incite caution. This was the response on their Facebook Page.
“Boston Comic Con is happy to announce that the convention will go on this weekend as scheduled! We hope to stand as an example of the resilience of Bostonians in the wake of this horrific tragedy. The many statements of solidarity we have received from fans and guests alike have been very encouraging. We will be donating a portion of the art auction proceeds to the Red Cross for the Boston Marathon victims relief effort. In light of the heightened security in the city we ask cosplayers to not bring prop weapons this weekend.”
Thirdly, Google got a person finder up within an hour or so, allowing people to give information about people they’ve seen, report in, or for loved ones to search for friends and family.
Finally, we had the good users of Reddit, where I watched the live threads, put up links to a pair of Google docs for displaced people to find places to stay, and one for people to offer places to stay. Some offered rides, and other support as well.
Other great acts was the IRS giving tax filing extensions to people in the Boston area, and many airlines were waiving cancellation and flight change fees in light of the events.
Be proud. American or not we should be proud that as human beings we can rally together so swiftly in the heart of chaos and tragedy, pick up some of the extra weight, and keep going. This was a healthy response, to find it within ourselves to offer support to anyone we can, because no matter our race, country of origin, gender, wealth, or beliefs, at the end of the day we’re all human, and that’s all that should really matter.