The dust is not yet settled, but in the instant world of opinion, pontification and social media, the time for silence is shorter by the day. We are only now beginning to grieve. We have no idea WHO yet. We just know what happened. And that alone, is enough to deal with right now.
This morning, I was a call-in guest on On The Mark, at the request of the host. I hope I provided something useful with my words. I’m no running expert, or event expert, or terrorism expert. But I can speak to how our response to tragedy is affected by the closeness we feel to the situation. I also recall theological conversations and pronouncements in the hours and days after Oklahoma City April 1995. And I am called to speak about how we respond to tragedy. So I agreed to be on, hoping I would have enough notes thrown together to offer words of hope, help, and care.
The show can be found here
I have a few other links to share. Others have put into words more succinct and profound than what I am capable of, things that moved me.
First, patron saint of slow runners, John Bingham, aka The Penguin writes this:
I saw this piece via twitter, thank you Mandy aka Caratunk Girl for passing it along.
As the loss of life is always tragic, the more real and close to us it becomes, the harder it hits us. I wondered on air, whether the 8 year old victim who died was there to watch his Dad. According to at least one report via CNN, he was indeed. That detail did not change his death, but hearing it made me cry hard. It made the reality something I could relate to even closer, seeing my own children at finish lines cheering me on.
In the face of all this, the realities become clear that we don’t talk of often: these acts of violence are not uncommon worldwide. We have an illusion of security. We can choose whether to tell our kids about much of it. That’s a privilege that many in the world do not have. They live it in their streets.
But even remembering all that, days like this are filled with hope when we see the responses of those who hear the blast and run toward it. When we hear of runners who finished a marathon and go to the hospital to donate blood. I don’t care if deeper thinkers than myself are deconstructing what they regard as the insufficient shallowness of the following quote we see a lot these days, I will still use it.
And, when we think the unthinkable, we have to honestly wonder why this actually doesn’t happen more often. Building bombs is easy. I had the info on a floppy drive in 7th grade when it was the pre-internet geek thing to pass around copies of the anarchist cookbook. The only thing that separates us from order and total chaos is not technology, but the will to do it. Thank God that is is a rare case.
So to borrow even more words from others, in case anyone hasn’t seen this yet, here it is. Usually known for his biting sarcastic comic take on America today, Patton Oswalt shared a statement getting passed around quite a bit that I find helpful.
FROM PATTON OSWALT’S FACEBOOK PAGE
Boston. *%$@#ing horrible.
I remember, when 9/11 went down, my reaction was, “Well, I’ve had it with humanity.”
But I was wrong. I don’t know what’s going to be revealed to be behind all of this mayhem. One human insect or a poisonous mass of broken sociopaths.
But here’s what I DO know. If it’s one person or a HUNDRED people, that number is not even a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a percent of the population on this planet. You watch the videos of the carnage and there are people running TOWARDS the destruction to help out. (Thanks FAKE Gallery founder and owner Paul Kozlowski for pointing this out to me). This is a giant planet and we’re lucky to live on it but there are prices and penalties incurred for the daily miracle of existence. One of them is, every once in awhile, the wiring of a tiny sliver of the species gets snarled and they’re pointed towards darkness.
But the vast majority stands against that darkness and, like white blood cells attacking a virus, they dilute and weaken and eventually wash away the evil doers and, more importantly, the damage they wreak. This is beyond religion or creed or nation. We would not be here if humanity were inherently evil. We’d have eaten ourselves alive long ago.
So when you spot violence, or bigotry, or intolerance or fear or just garden-variety misogyny, hatred or ignorance, just look it in the eye and think, “The good outnumber you, and we always will.”