After the Boston Marathon bombings, I had an instant feeling of shock. I remember feeling sick as I watched video of the tragedy on television. I remember sitting in complete silence next to a friend for what felt like an hour, and hugging afterward because we didn’t know what else to do.
Shock quickly morphed into disgust. I started to reflect upon the world in which we live today—one that, at the time, seemed to be rife with uniquely disturbing postmodern terror. I saw a world in which people build homemade explosives and unleash them upon other human beings. I also saw a world in which people use atrocities to spread hateful, ignorant speech.
That feeling of disgust still lingers today. It makes sense, of course, because the Boston Marathon tragedy was, is and will always be disgusting. The figures say enough: three senseless deaths, at least 183 injuries, one transit police officer fatally shot three days later during the final hours of a manhunt. The true terror rests in the unquantifiable: the amount of fear and panic the bombings caused, the physical and psychological trauma caused as Copley became a de facto war zone, and the fact that the individual human beings affected mean far more than numbers on a page will ever capture.
However, evil ultimately lost this fight at the hands of a resilient, courageous majority. My disgust directed toward the atrocity is matched by my sense of awe directed toward the response. I saw good in the world: marathoners running an extra two miles to Massachusetts General Hospital to donate blood, brave individuals carrying victims to safety and a police force willing to risk their lives to restore peace and order in Boston. I saw heroes in action.
I also saw a nation of individuals who, in general, rallied together during a time of collective suffering. A vast majority of the people I know have spread messages not only describing anger and sadness, but to help assuage fear and to express sentiments of hope, peace and love. I have seen people willing to donate their time and their effort in order to end and overcome the tragedy. I see a world filled with a formidable amount of good.
Terrible events like the Boston Marathon tragedy never need to occur in order to bring this world out—may that thought be crushed under the weight of its own ignorance. In the face of emergency, people stand up together to protect peace. We must continue to do so. Realizing that evil inherently exists is painful, and watching evil unfold is a truly harrowing experience. But as long as we remain vigilant as a majority, we can minimize and defeat it. We can triumph over the most trying of times.
My many thoughts and prayers to all involved, and my deepest, most sincere thank-yous to everyone who has helped so far.