Remain calm (and kind)

The bombing at the Boston Marathon yesterday was a terrible, evil act. This wasn’t some random act of violence, no heat-of-the-moment lashing out. Someone had to have planned this for quite some time, and intentionally wanted to harm as many people as possible. This is the worst kind of evil. This goes beyond hatred and anger; the act may have had its seed there–been the motivating factor–but it would have cooled to something more deliberate and determined–more calculatingly evil–in order to do something like this.

But amid all of that, we need to remember a few things:

  1. We don’t know anything. In fact, from what I’ve read today, we know even less than we thought we knew yesterday. People have speculated, sometimes irresponsibly, as to who might have done this, but we just don’t know. Speculation is pointless, and politicizing this is just sickening.
  2. Membership is not support. Eventually we’ll learn who did this, and when we do people will be falling over each other trying to attach blame to some larger group this person(s) might have been associated with. Yes, there may be some terrorist group involved, but blame should stop there. If this person turns out to be a abortion-rights supporter, a girl scout, a Pentecostal, a union member, a Republican–whatever–that connection is likely meaningless. The vast majority of any group would never support something like this, and likely would have done all they could to stop this person or group had they known.
  3. Media are paid to talk, not to remain silent in the absence of facts. If not already, someone in mass media is going to stay something stupid and offensive. Let it be. They’re paid to talk, and if you have an infinite number of pundits speak for an infinite length of time eventually one of them will quote Mein Kampf.
  4. People are basically good. Witness the policeman who finished the marathon and immediately went to work helping care for the injured when he had to have been in questionable condition himself at that point. Or the runners who kept on running straight to the nearest hospital to donate blood. Or the numerous people who ran toward the explosions, eager to help, when the natural and safest reaction would have been to run away.
  5. We can’t let them win. Whomever did this tried to frighten us all. We don’t know what specific reaction they were hoping for yet, but inevitably terror seeks to intimidate us into being worse than we are, not better. It seems to heighten the human tendency toward selfishness and self-interest. This we cannot allow. They attack crowds because crowds are supposed to be strong, and they seek to make us think otherwise.

There will be plenty of time to mull over the details as they come out, as they eventually will. In the mean time, let us direct our attention, thoughts, prayers, positive energy, etc. to the victims and their loved-ones. Or better still, let us find something we can do, directly or indirectly, to make the world in general a better place. Make a difference today, no matter how small. Even if it’s only giving a smile to a stranger as you pass one another, this is an excellent time to make connections with one another.

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