Today there was a bombing in the city of Boston. At the time of this post, two people are confirmed dead, and dozens are injured. From reports, there were two explosives. This is an act of terrorism, and it saddens me that there are people in this world that would do things like this. But I do have a few thoughts.
We Americans take for granted how safe we actually are. In countries like Afghanistan or Iraq, they don’t have that luxury. I will never for a second condone this tragic event, but the fact that Americans are so complacent is interesting to me. After 9/11, the people were terrified. American soil had been attacked. Over 1,000 people died. This sort of thing made our nation so scared that it immediately had people willing to throw away their freedoms to feel safer. You can bet that the media had a field-day with this fear. The reports that were coming out were about as gloom-and-doom as it gets.
Then you have the other side of this equation – the people who want to believe that danger is every single place. They had absolutely no problem throwing away freedoms after 9/11. I cannot tell you how many people in my immediate area were saying stupid hyperbole like, “people shouldn’t be worried if they’ve got nothing to hide!” That sort of sentiment just drove me up the wall. But hey, that’s America for ya. And when the government decided to make some unbelievably stupid decisions following a tragic event, we all went along with it, because fear and sensationalism were rampant. I am hoping that this tragedy is not another repeat of that, should it be found out that a terrorist organization was responsible. If we are EVER going to get out of our species infancy, we have to start being able to talk about things. Otherwise, this kind of tribalism is going to drive us into the ground. That is, to be honest, how I think the human race will end.
Though all things being said and done, here’s what we need to remember – we need to be able to talk about this. I am one of the people who thinks that when we are going overboard about these issues, we are basically just selling out our freedoms for not even close to what they are worth. What’s more, these discussions need to be rational! I cannot tell you how many people are already online saying that this is the Muslims. Then there are the conspiracy whack-jobs who are saying that this was all one big government scheme. I swear, those people must think that our government is the most well-oiled machine in the world to make every single national tragedy happen without a single open omission or confession from one of the people involved. But the reality here is that we aren’t rational about this. Battle lines are already being drawn and we are already starting to fight it out.
Another thing that I want to add, if this was a terrorist attack, is that I have a very galvanizing opinion about terrorist attacks (if that is indeed what this was). See, here is my thought – I have a TON more respect for the tradition mob hitman than I do for a person who kills innocent people for what they believe is a cause. There are a couple reasons why.
The first is that the mob hitman doesn’t do this because of some delusion of it being a for a good cause. The hitman is doing it for money. They are doing it to survive. They do a job that they know they are good at (if they have been alive doing it for a long time, they know that) and that they know will earn them the money they need. This person has an understandable reason for their work. Whether you agree with it or not, that should make sense to you.
The second reason is that the mob hitman doesn’t kill innocent people to do their job. Don’t go off on me before you think about it. They have a target. A professional enforcer for the mob will know to take out their target in the most efficient way possible. Does gunning that person down in a large crowd sound efficient to you? Absolutely not. They do their work in a way that can maximize efficiency while minimizing risk. That’s the smart way to do these things, and criminals are a lot smarter than people give them credit for.
Look, this is a tragedy. We should take time to mourn the victims and try and help those who can be helped. One of the refreshing reports I got after this was that people were running in to where the blasts were to help those who were hurt. That’s the kind of attitude that we should have. We should come together and work together, instead of taking to the internet to fight it out.
Consensus is possible. Our species doesn’t have to follow its usual pattern of immediately finding ways to get mad at each other. But maybe I am just being too hopeful. Keep the people involved in this tragedy in your thoughts. Pray for them, if you must. But most of all, please, keep an open mind and try and think about this rationally. Please? I am tired of hearing reports about how another school shooting has devolved into an argument about gun rights, when it should be us looking at what the causes of people’s violence are (and please don’t insult my intelligence by saying violent movies and video games. That’s ignorance at its worst). I am sick of tragedy being a battle over which rights that we lose. We need to be smarter than this.
Otherwise, the point that others have made countless times before me is true – the terrorists have won.
Until next time, a quote,
“But it’s pretty obvious that a lot of people, in the absence of any kind of definitive answers, are clamoring for someone to blame. And, really, in my opinion, that shouldn’t be our first imperative. We shouldn’t immediately say ‘who can we blame for this?’ We should be all about finding the truth.” -TJ Kirk, THE BOSTON BOMBING – What happens now?