Editor’s note: Have you read Patton Oswalt’s Facebook note? You should. I sobbed.
Right now, my mind is reeling. Today was supposed to be about last-minute tax filing and getting yelled at by my dad for being so irresponsible. How I wish it was still about that. I’ve tried my very best during the last few hours to lurk though Facebook to try and catch glimpses that my Boston friends are safe. Every time I read a headline or tweet with “2 dead,” “3 dead,” or “12 dead,” I start to feel that same quiet panic I felt so many years ago.
I’m sure most people remember where they were on Tuesday, September 11, 2001, when they first heard about the attacks on the Twin Towers. I was sitting quietly in eighth grade social studies. “Quiet” is the word that I would use to describe my 9/11 experience. I’m well aware that that word certainly doesn’t hold true for those in New York City or the Pentagon or aboard Flight 93, or probably anyone else. I remember my teacher walking in from a conversation with another teacher and trying to explain that something bad that had just happened, but without being able to. No one really knew what had just happened. This was before effective social media. This was before the smartphone. All we had were the few teachers with the portable TVs or radios.
We were sent home early. I remember kids in the hallway excitedly speculating about what might have happened. I guessed it must have been a bomb. Someone else shouted out that he had heard it had been planes. I chided him and asked how that made any sense. But, as we all know, he was right. Planes at the hands of suicidal perverted ideologues fueled by hate had been the weapon. What followed next was just different hate fueled by different ideologues. Racism. Violence. Promoted consumerism. Political greed. Torture. This is how we healed.
With today’s coverage of the explosions of the Boston Marathon, I can feel my skin crawl. The information being passed along is unconfirmed, incomplete and jumbled together. Some of it is just flowery words about how attacking the Boston Marathon is like attacking us at our safest because the Marathon is a celebration of life. Most of it is just the audio and video from the explosion on repeat. Reporters and pundits talk about severed limbs and injured runners from the comfort of their own studios. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised there’s already a gif of the attack. I find this sickening.
Instead of giving the sociopaths who did this a front row seat to their own twisted show, I wish pundits and reporters would focus on the importance of holding your loved ones close. I wish that instead of sensationalizing severed limbs, pundits and reporters would empathize with the pain of the victims. I don’t want to hear President Obama say that America stands with Boston. He doesn’t need to say that. It should be understood. I want him to tell me how we can stand with Boston. I want to help.
Hugs for everyone today and always.