Thoughts on the Marathon

Today was supposed to be a day of tradition, endurance, and celebration. Instead, two bombs exploded, three people were killed and over 100 people were injured–many critically. When I heard what happened, I experienced a mix of emotions: Confusion, shock, disbelief, sadness. Those emotions intensified when I went online and saw footage of the carnage.

I’m currently in the Science and Medical Journalism graduate program at Boston University. Many of my friends are also graduate students, but in other areas like photojournalism or broadcast. Some of them were there today covering the event. I can’t imagine being there as a journalist. This piece by John Tlumacki, a photographer at the Boston Globe, really gets across the conflicting feelings many journalists have when covering things like this. It’s your job to get the news, to tell what happened–it’s an important job. But you’re also a human being, and your first instinct is to help (at least that’s my first instinct). Warning, the slideshow is graphic–view at your own discretion.

My thoughts go out to all those affected by the attack today. I also wanted to post a few reactions I read on social media (let’s end on a high note):

“When tragedies strike, heroes rise to meet the challenge: the first responders seen sprinting toward the blast site, the runners who changed course to run to local hospitals to donate blood, and the fine citizens of Boston who at once opened their homes to marathoners in need of a place to stay. When we come together, we cannot be brought down.” –George Tekai

“I don’t know what’s going to be revealed to be behind all of this mayhem. One human insect or a poisonous mass of broken sociopaths.

But here’s what I DO know. If it’s one person or a HUNDRED people, that number is not even a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a percent of the population on this planet. 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.

So when you spot violence, or bigotry, or intolerance or fear or just garden-variety misogyny, hatred or ignorance, just look it in the eye and think, ‘The good outnumber you, and we always will.'”
–Patton Oswalt

If anyone is stranded in Boston, please see this google doc. Bostonians all over the city and even some beyond are offering places to crash. I hope this helps.


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