It seems appropriate to say we all know of the events that transpired yesterday–that two explosions went off near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, 3 dead, while around 150 severely injured. A lot of speculations are taking root as the events go viral. As someone who is residing in the U.S., it makes sense to relate this situation to the events that occurred in December in Newtown, CT. Both occurred in areas close to where I live and grew up, both were acts of unusual violence that erupted in unpredictable fashion resulting in innocent causalities–including children, and both opened the country’s eyes and shook the bubbles we perpetually live in. But with both these instances, what links them together more than anything else is the political/social/spiritual climate that hangs in the air in the wake of such tragedies. Now is the time to look inward and outward, as well as to grow.
What makes what happened in Boston so much different, though, for me at least, was the personal investment I had in the outcome. My mother works on the same block as where the first explosion went off. I remember seeing on my fb news-feed her posting a picture of the finish line from her office window that morning before the explosions occurred . As I turned on the news, it was that picture that first came to my mind, and so naturally, I immediately called to make sure she was safe. Luckily for me, she was able to make it home okay. I’m extremely grateful, but at the same time I can’t help but remember: not everyone is so fortunate. So many other people had similar ties to the events, but different outcomes. The fear I felt for 5 minutes and that was quickly relieved was the same fear so many other people felt but was quickly turned to grief and pain. Too often are we only trained to see events like these and how they connect to us on the individual level. It’s easy for Americans to empathize when it happens in our backyards, but eventually we need to abandon this mindset for a broader one.
In my post Thoughts on Newtown, I write:
“Counting our blessings is a good start, but problematic if thats where it ends because meaningful change will never happen. There is something really wrong when all we do is remember how well we have it in the wake of others suffering. Its an individualistic mindset we have too often been trained to think. It hinders us from making proper assessments that would create radical reforms and potentially prevent events like yesterday from happening again. Even though it comes from a pure place, that way of thinking LIMITS our potentiality.”
In the conclusion, I state:
“We need to see this as an international problem. We have to acknowledge the international role of America (militarian), and how it is carried out (violently). We need to see the contradictions behind Obama’s sympathy towards the victims of Newtown right after he killed innocent lives overseas TESTING drones. We need to understand that if we want to be safe domestically, then our foreign policies need to change. When the president drops drones, when the US militarily occupies other countries, when we support war, we are fostering a violent environment, and we think that we will be unaffected by the violence we produced. But most importantly, we need to remember how we feel today EVERYDAY. The level of empathy we feel towards CT needs to be the same level of empathy towards the people around the world affected by war, natural disasters, exploitation, and other injustices.”
I’m having difficulties coming up with a similar conclusion to these events yesterday like I was able to for Newtwon. I can’t seem to understand what it means or accept if it is solely a part of an international problem that needs to be addressed. But what I do know is that violence, mass killings, and a culture of hatred have been brewing for far too long now in this world and that instead of really trying to solve anything, we as a society have continually fed hate with hate. In the wake of tragedies, more often than not do we become so polarized that meaningful change rarely happens, rather the same events keep occurring because we are openly exposed and they just reinforce the rifting divide.
The price of violence is costly and we cannot afford to continually leave these things to chance. Unless we begin to take a proactive stance towards hate and violence, I’m going to remain fearful of the future that is ahead.