Monday, April 15, 2013
Close to Home
I was stopped in my tracks about 20 minutes ago when my friend Karen called me and asked if I had heard. Heard what, I asked, thinking she had probably been awarded the fellowship she had applied for recently. Two bombs at the Boston Marathon. "You better call your friends who were running." But I can't. The phone lines are jammed. Three friends running the Marathon. Various others volunteering. Certainly their families are panicking, desperate to get through and make sure they're OK as well. But that isn't the story I wish to tell. I wasn't in the U.S. for 9/11 (on my mission in Chile), although I volunteered at the memorial here in 2011. I didn't experience that moment personally. And I'm very aware that two explosions at the Marathon finish line (and two others that were dismantled by police), with two dead and 23 or so injured, can't even begin to compare in magnitude and tragedy. Except that, for me, I feel angry and indignant as if I were attacked. I feel solidarity with Boston. It feels like home, and my home has been attacked today. Attacked on its day of celebration, Patriot's Day. Like the September 11th strike in New York, these bombs attacked Boston at its heart. I don't mean to be melodramatic - as far as I know, all my friends are fine, and I'm certainly fine. But I am angry at the brazen cowardice and calculated absurdity of this attack. And I take it somewhat personally. To intentionally hurt oblivious, well-intentioned people - people who have worked and sweated and trained to accomplish this moment, and the people who came to cheer them on - is despicable. I'm angry. I am also, at this moment, a Bostonian. Angry as a Bostonian. Angry as an American. And angry as a human: why do so many of us represent our race in such a contemptible way? These thoughts swept through me as I drove home from campus. And I thought I'd share. Thanks for listening. You'll be glad to know that my friends are all OK as well.