April 21, 2013 at 12:37 pm | Posted in Friends Then and Now, Life and Living | 2 Comments
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I had been experiencing some serious highs and lows this past week, really trying to make sense of everything happening in my personal life.  When I came across the news of the explosions in Boston, everything somehow came to a halt.  It’s not that it didn’t or doesn’t matter — it’s that something bigger than myself was happening and directly affecting those that I loved.

I immediately texted my best friend, who lives in Boston and together we watched the day unfold virtually.  I was able to get in contact with my close friends that live in the area.  I watched my best friend, my closest friends, go through what I had gone through on 9/11.  That feeling of fear, chaos, confusion, anxiety, not being able to reach loved ones, not knowing if they would be okay.

I couldn’t turn to the politicization that tends to happen with tragedies these days.  I was frozen in the thought that I could have lost some of my closest friends in an instant.  To a New Yorker, Boston is a small town, and from what I have seen in my 12 years regularly visiting the city, this seems to be true.  Boston is a community where everyone seems to know everyone.  I knew that I would have friends at the marathon either watching or running. I knew I had friends working in the hospitals, or in companies near the finish line.  I knew when they announced that a 29 year old was among the casualties that one of my friends would somehow be connected to her.  This tragedy really hit home for me.

It was almost 4 months to the day since Sandy Hook, so the wounds are still fresh for the nation.  And I realized with this tragedy that I never allowed myself to fully feel the pain of that tragedy.  It didn’t have to hit so close to home to hurt so bad.  I feel like though I still mourn that tragedy, that it was a singular evil act with no answers, but at least we knew who was to blame pretty quickly.  As the day went on, I wanted to hear that they had a suspect connected to the Boston Marathon tragedy, because we are a culture that expects fast turnaround, and I feared that we may not know who did this to a town I love so much, and I hated seeing my friends suffer and afraid for their safety.

And I worry for this country that these tragedies are happening all too frequently these days, and with social media we all react emotionally before we really know what’s going on.  We don’t give ourselves a chance to think before we talk, to let things sink in.  We are insensitive and move beyond the human tragedy to the politics and blaming the media too quickly.  But we are all reporters now.  We can’t blame the media anymore.  And at the end of the day, it was the smart usage of media and social media, providing the information we needed without providing the suspect with too much information, that brought these killers to their knees.

So this chapter may seem to be over, but there is always another evil plan being hatched, it seems.  Tragedies somehow divide and unite us all at once, and in my opinion, no law is going to stop the presence of evil.  There is always a way.  But I do think that people who are not loners, when people find a connection with others, the natural compassion can keep us from the darkness.  If we reconnect with humanity and take more time to understand each other rather than attacking each other perhaps we can heal this country.

On Heroes and Angels

December 18, 2012 at 7:31 am | Posted in Life and Living | Leave a comment
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The recent massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School has rocked this nation to its core.  Unlike past mass shootings that have occurred in our lifetime, this one claimed the lives of such young, innocent victims.  This fact alone has made for a serious emotional communal state of being, and as is typical of human nature, we all want answers.  We all want to know how this happened and why, and what can we do to stop this from ever happening again.

There are so many debates, so many fingers being pointed, so many are accused beyond the gun man himself. It’s the guns, it’s a lack of safety precautions, it’s mental health, it’s the mother of the shooter’s fault.  It’s the media’s fault for sensationalizing it.  Someone has to be to blame so we know what to change.

The blame game has played out all across social media, with everyone expressing their opinions, their anguish, making up quotes or believing stories before the evidence was able to come out.  We have no patience for answers, not when children’s lives have been lost.

I was one of these people searching for answers, jumping to conclusions.  The one thing I didn’t do was to jump to solutions.  I still need time to figure out how to cope with this emotionally and what I can do as an individual to honor those lost.  I did a lot of reading.  I turned off social media, turned it back on to see if anything anyone said resonated with me.  I found things I agreed with, and things I did not. I read comments from hysterical mothers and aggressive anti-gun advocates.  I read the thoughts of teachers, and the stories of the heroes.  I studied the faces and names of the fallen, the heroes and the angels, attempting to etch them in my memory and not let the villain win this round.  I researched elementary school massacres and learned about the 1927 massacre in Michigan and its villain — a school board member — trying to understand the motives, the profile of this kind of evil.

But I didn’t jump to solutions because this I know to be true.  I know that there will always be evil in the world.  I know that evil will always find a way. I know that whether evil comes in the form of mental illness or just plain bad to the bone, it is something regular people, most people, will never understand but will spend their lives trying to.

I know that for every evil soul there are many more good souls, many more who want to protect, who will without question become a hero in a heartbeat to do what’s right.  I know that we lose many good people, perhaps more good than bad it may seem.  I know that there are those who are unlucky and those who are lucky.

But right now, I’m feeling pretty darn lucky.  Lucky to have walked the same ground as these heroes and angels.  Lucky to still be here.

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