I should be using this column to offer you “Industry Insights” on printer and supplies, but this morning, following yesterday’s bombings at the Boston Marathon, I am too sad and more lost than insightful.
Yesterday was beautiful running weather in Massachusetts—the sun was shining and it was neither too hot nor too cold. If you haven’t been in Boston or surrounding towns for the marathon, it is a joyful occasion even if you aren’t one of those who has trained for months to participate in the marathon. Lots of folks are off work for the day, and many of them bring their children into the city and the towns along the route to watch the runners and cheer.
My daughters and I spent Marathon Monday getting together with some of our dearest friends from pre-school days. We did some running, but nothing to brag about. Our endeavors were limited to chasing five-year-olds as they drove around my yard in a bright pink Barbie jeep. The kids were booming obnoxious pop music from an MP3 player and sipping juice boxes as they drove—very poorly, I might add. It was almost like a weird preview of their teenage years. My littlest one, seven months old, just drank in the activity and the sunshine. It wasn’t until everybody left that we heard the terrible news and all the joy of that afternoon instantly evaporated.
Whether you were running, watching, working, or playing in Boston and surrounding towns, yesterday started out as a beautiful day. Then, the bombs went off, and that horrible inventory taking started once again. I am sure many of you remember it from September 11—those calls and texts and emails, the ones you initiate and the ones you receive, asking, “Are you OK? Is your family OK? Where is so-and-so? Have you heard from him? Have you seen her?” When disaster strikes, we inventory our loved ones, and for too many yesterday that tally ended in sorrow.
Ever since the attack in Boston, I have been struggling with the horrible contrast between the exhilarated runners, the excited spectators, the joyful children bouncing around my house and yard—all that good and all that innocence—and those bombs going off, killing at least three people, including an eight-year-old, and injuring 152 others at last tally. Even before the bombs went off, this Patriot’s Day was tinged with sadness because the Boston Marathon was being run in honor of the victims at the Sandy Hook school shooting.
How does it happen? How do some of our babies grow up to do something this unspeakably evil? There will be a lot of talk about the who and the why in the days to come. It seems there are so many reasons floated about to explain why people do these terrible things: untreated mental illness, indoctrination into extreme views, unfathomable political agendas. Whatever the authorities may discover about the who and why in Boston, it is hard to conceive of the anger, the narcissism, and the lack of moral compass that could allow someone to do this.
And how do we go on? How do those who lost loved ones yesterday go on? How do those who lost limbs heal? How do we read yet another list of names of victims, see their photos, and go about our daily routine? How do we continue to go to public events, go to movies, go to malls, send our kids to school, when it seems that nowhere is safe. How do we cope when all if it, the people we love, humanity itself, seems so very, very fragile?
But I know we do go on. We have to somehow. I’ve got no answers. Just sadness and sympathy for those affected by yesterday’s tragedy.