Tuesday, April 16, 2013

It's Horrifying How Familiar It Feels To Be Reading About Mass VIolence in the US

...although of course the hometown location makes it particular for me.  I hope everyone I know there is ok.  My thoughts are with them -- and with the city I love.

Photographs from the Boston Globe here.

We need to be angry and empathize with the victims without being scared. Our fears would play right into the perpetrators' hands -- and magnify the power of their victory for whichever goals whatever group behind this, still to be uncovered, has. We don't have to be scared, and we're not powerless. We actually have all the power here, and there's one thing we can do to render terrorism ineffective: Refuse to be terrorized.

It's hard to do, because terrorism is designed precisely to scare people -- far out of proportion to its actual danger....

Don't glorify the terrorists and their actions by calling this part of a "war on terror." Wars involve two legitimate sides. There's only one legitimate side here; those on the other are criminals. They should be found, arrested, and punished. But we need to be vigilant not to weaken the very freedoms and liberties that make this country great, meanwhile, just because we're scared.

Empathize, but refuse to be terrorized. Instead, be indomitable -- and support leaders who are as well. That's how to defeat terrorists.

-- Bruce Schneier

You watch the videos of the carnage and there are people running TOWARDS the destruction to help out..... This is a giant planet and we're lucky to live on it but there are prices and penalties incurred for the daily miracle of existence. One of them is, every once in awhile, the wiring of a tiny sliver of the species gets snarled and they're pointed towards darkness.

But the vast majority stands against that darkness and, like white blood cells attacking a virus, they dilute and weaken and eventually wash away the evil doers and, more importantly, the damage they wreak. This is beyond religion or creed or nation. We would not be here if humanity were inherently evil. We'd have eaten ourselves alive long ago.

-- Patton Oswalt

A policeman told me, “We have the possibility of another device. You are not safe here. Please move along for your own safety.” She did not appear to be kidding. You could smell the blood a block and a half away. On a day like this, everybody’s nervous. Everybody’s scared. Nobody knows anything. And everything is a secondary device.

It was always going to be something like this. After the Olympic Park Bombing in 1996, it wasn’t going to be a big event. It wasn’t going to be the Super Bowl. Or the World Series. Or college basketball’s Final Four. It was going to be a happy gathering that everyone took for granted. It was going to be the average college football game. It was going to be a small college basketball game. It was going to be the Boston Marathon, one of the last big open events in a society closing in on itself from every direction....

The problem the EMTs had was that the bomb went off inside the security barricades. The barricades meant to protect the spectators briefly prevented the EMTs from reaching the injured. This was not the last of the day’s cruel ironies. The EMT told me that the first person he saw was a 5- or 6-year-old with blood on his face. He did not seem to be in any way injured. One of his parents lay on the ground next to him. The parent wasn’t moving.

It was always going to be one of these. It was going to be a smaller, happier less grimly secure event. And now it’s one of these. And you can smell the blood two blocks away.

-- Charles P. Pierce

When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers - so many caring people in this world.

 -- Fred Rogers ("Mr. Rogers")

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