I am a contained mess today. Here are ten things that are on my mind:
1. We still know practically nothing about what happened yesterday. I’m begging everyone to not speculate about the perpetrator(s) or the motives, and to politely but firmly shut down anyone who does.
2. When you feel helpless and small, go DO something, even if you don’t think it makes a difference. Donate blood, or give some money to the Red Cross. Volunteer somewhere in your community. Every kind thing we do ripples out, and we could all use some ripples right about now.
3. Boston is my city; I grew up very near Boston proper and I consider myself a native. I know the landscape, I understand the language, I feel kinship to the people. Having said that, though, I find I’m not taking this attack any more personally than I took Oklahoma City, or 9/11, or the bombings in Madrid or London. I am a human being and a citizen of the world; whenever and wherever something like this happens, it happens to me.
4. I am flooded with emotion. I’m sad. I’m frightened. I’m ragingly angry. I’m simultaneously motivated to go out and DO something and tempted to retreat. I feel a need for kindness and a desire for vengeance (which I’m not at all proud of). It’s going to take a while to settle back down.
5. I pause to honor all the people whose first instinct is to run TOWARD danger. I am grateful, as I always am, to police and fire fighters and EMTs and military personnel and regular, everyday people who put themselves at risk to help complete strangers in need.
6. I’m also pausing to remember that far too many people in the world live with the threat of shit like this as part of their day-to-day. Americans have a “this doesn’t happen to US” mentality; suffering on this scale is always something that happens somewhere else and to strangers. I think it’s high time we abandon that exceptionalist attitude and come to understand that it can happen anywhere to everyone.
7. I’ve just about had it with the “false flag” bullshit, and the assumption that the perpetrators of this horror are from the Middle East. Enough with the hate-mongering.
8. We can – and should – call this an act of terror, because that’s what it is. What I object to, though, is that we have gotten so cozy and comfortable with the idea that “terrorists” are automatically “Arab.” “Terrorists” are everyone BUT us. Until we can separate racism from “terrorism,” we’re going to make situations worse by calling them “terrorist acts,” because that gives the frightened and the bigoted and the angry justification for their hatred. We’re only going to continue to foment hate and bigotry and violence in our fear, and the only thing that will accomplish is making more incidents like this. We have a deep and pernicious cultural problem. We need to get a handle on that, and right fucking now.
9. I am selfishly relieved that Eddie and his wife were untouched by this tragedy. That doesn’t make me any less horrified or saddened by it, but the relief I felt when I found out that my people were safe was profound.
We teach. We treat each other kindly. We refuse to be silent when we see injustice. We promote equality and justice. We never shut up.