Unwanted Perspective

16 Apr
From our office window...

From our office window…

Like most Americans, I’ve spent much of the last 24 hours trying to process the Boston Marathon bombings. When there is so much to love about living, it is truly mind-boggling to realize there are other humans in this world – structurally built from the same materials as the rest of us – who not only can’t feel humbled before it, but feel entitled to strip others of that gift.

I’ve felt this way before. After Columbine. After 9/11. After the DC sniper. After Newtown…

What is new to me is how personal this attack feels. Even though the scale is smaller (at least from a fatality standpoint), this event has rocked me in ways that the others haven’t.

Maybe it’s because my company’s headquarters is smack-dab between the two explosions.

Or because I have more than a hundred colleagues (dozens of whom I consider friends) working in that building.

Or because I’ve mindlessly walked past the two bomb sites countless times in the last few years on my way to pick up lunch.

Or because my  friends were posting photos of the finish line from the office window that morning, celebrating how lucky they were to have such prime seats.

Or because it’s all too real to imagine my co-workers cowering under their desks, waiting for the third blast.

Or because I’d tried to fly in that morning but the hotel costs were prohibitively high – so I pushed my arrival back a day.

Or maybe it’s because all the news coverage shows my hotel and my office building… landmarks that previously made me think “home away from home,” when I saw them pulling into view.

I really don’t know.

Regardless of why this events hits me square in the gut, there are a few things I am certain of:

Those runners won’t stop running because a coward tried to steal their glory.

We should stop using the term “mastermind” when referring to a terrorist. Masterminds are people who find elegant solutions to difficult problems. Killing innocent people? Pretty much the opposite.

The bravery of the first responders – the people who turned to run into the smoke instead of away from it – only serves to underscore the cowardice of the person (or persons) who set those bombs.

The goodness of humanity far outweighs the few random assholes behind events like this. 

Just watch the news or check out your social media channels and you’ll see that last point affirmed over and over again:

The Bostonians who coordinated a directory of private homes where homeless runners could stay.

The outpouring of blood donations at Mass General and the Red Cross.

The stranger who gave his race medal to a first-time marathoner who was unable to finish because of the blast. 

The spectators who rose to the occasion and found themselves pushing wheelchairs and tearing away fencing to get to victims.

The locals who – walking home from their evacuated office buildings – took runners home with them and gave them warm clothes and helped them reconnect with their families. 

Life is good. People are good.

Those beliefs are fundamental differences that separate us from the people behind attacks like this.

Cling to it. Celebrate it. Embody it.

© 2013 Aaron Tango Tang

© 2013 Aaron Tango Tang

16 Responses to “Unwanted Perspective”

  1. skippingstones April 16, 2013 at 9:41 pm #

    Very nicely said.

    • Alison April 16, 2013 at 9:46 pm #

      Thanks. It’s not eloquent, but I got tired of waiting to find the right words.

      • melissasharples April 16, 2013 at 9:53 pm #

        These ARE the right words.

      • Alison April 17, 2013 at 7:32 am #

        And yet they’re still not adequate.

      • skippingstones April 17, 2013 at 4:46 pm #

        I thought it was just right.

  2. Kelly Boykin April 17, 2013 at 7:15 am #

    Perfectly state what we all feel, thanks Alison

  3. Eliana Hassen April 17, 2013 at 7:30 am #

    Agreed, thanks for sharing.

  4. dianeskitchentable April 17, 2013 at 8:17 am #

    Very well said. I’ve been trying to compose a coherent post myself but it’s been hard to write with this sick feeling in my gut. My niece lives in DC and has run for the past few years. Last year was going to be her last Boston run but because of the extreme heat, she took a bye and ran this year. She had just finished and was doubling back to get her backpack from the bus when the explosions blew a block in front of her and smoke poured down the street. She was not injured thankfully and my husband and his sister were a block over waiting to pick her up. Although they were all fine, being here, not knowing exactly where they were or how they were was excruciating until text messages finally got through. You are certainly right about good people helping though. Since all train service was locked down there was no way for them to get out of the city until a kind stranger gave them a ride to Riverside where the car was.

    • pithypants April 18, 2013 at 5:39 am #

      Glad your niece and her family are safe. And very heart-warming to have more confirmation that strangers stepped up. Not that I’d doubt it – Boston is always one of the friendliest cities I visit.

  5. thesinglecell April 17, 2013 at 9:49 am #

    Your words are every bit as meaningful and valid as any others you might find on this topic. You have an intensely personal connection to the exact spot where this happened. Everyone finds a connection to tragedy somehow – it’s what validates our experience as human beings and confirms our spiritual connection to the others of our species. I’m glad you shared your thoughts.

    • pithypants April 18, 2013 at 5:39 am #

      Thanks. Many false starts went into this one. And I keep saying it feels inadequate because really, how can you capture the complex swirl of thoughts and emotions on something like this? It’s just not possible. Which is probably why it felt necessary to try.

  6. Shelli G April 17, 2013 at 7:34 pm #

    Its been a long time since I worked there and it touched me that the office was RIGHT THERE!

  7. Daniel Scott Heikka April 17, 2013 at 7:48 pm #

    Very well said.

  8. hollybernabe April 24, 2013 at 10:33 pm #

    I’ve been wanting to write a blog about these events, and have been at a loss for words, not knowing how to respond. Apparently, you are psychic, because you took the feelings that I and probably so many others are feeling and you said it all so beautifully. Thank you.

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