Monday, April 15, 2013

A Bad Day in Boston

Today has been a bad day in Boston.  I myself was nowhere near marathon, let alone near the finish line where the bombs went off.  Couldn't get through to my wife because the phones were down, and so even though I knew she wasn't planning to be anywhere near the marathon either, I still had all these pangs of fear and worry about her and Harriet until I actually made contact some hours after the bombs.  Poor Harriet was picking up on her parents stress, and having no idea what was going on, so we sat in the living room and one of us read aloud to distract and calm us adults while the other lay on the floor with Harriet, playing with her and making sure she didn't butt-hop her way into any hard table edges.

Something like this really rattles me, in a way that I find difficult to rationally explain.  It doesn't exactly scare me---an attack like today's bombing of the Boston Marathon is so random and so infrequent that I just can't figure out how one could be scared of it properly and yet still live one's life.  It would be like being scared of meteor strikes.  Not to say we can't do better at preventing such horrors, but I think we're likely dealing with the work of a deranged individual, not some organized cause, and in a modern technological society, there's only so much that can be done to limit the capability of individuals to do harm.  The only way to make society overall safer from this sort of attacker is to make sure that less people slip through the cracks of isolation, alienation, and mental illness---a long, hard, and complex process, sure to be opposed by those who think that all somebody needs to do is "pull themselves up by their bootstraps" or to "act like an adult."  There's a lot of emotionally wounded adults out there, and today there are many more.  No good, and nothing much that we can do but carry on, live our lives as constructively and humanely as we can, and grieve when we need to grieve.

Stay safe, everybody, and live well both today and for all your hopeful tomorrows.

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