I’m starting to feel a bit numb from all the turmoil of late, and just that here in the United States! Today there’s a kind of a lull from the fearful week since yesterday the massive police contingent apprehended the last suspect from Monday’s bombing at the Boston Marathon, a few miles up the road from us in CT. Now begins another level of intensity, a trial, details of the suffering and loss, healing, public crucifixion, and you name it. This as our part of the country, “shielded” from the extensive media coverage of the explosion in Texas, continues on with recovery from the CT school shooting. A process serving as one of the backdrops to the nation’s intense battle over guns. Lines drawn, heels dug in, change foisted upon us, and resisted with equal vengeance. One thinks of moving to Tahiti. But, of course that’s no answer.
As horrific as it’s all been, including the mass killings of other youth across the country, I’m wondering if I’ve not become inured to it all. Even the events of 2001 are not so far behind us. The casualties and life-altering injuries in Boston are horrific, surreal on such a celebratory day. But I’m also struggling with how at least one of these men, who’s been described as a regular, even nice guy, how such a young man could “mysteriously,” quickly descend into such darkness, such madness. I dare say I’m the only one concerned about that but surely he must have been dealing with his own kind of hell to do such a thing. And there must have been signs.
But this latest tragedy in Boston is just one more trial on top of others, a spate of devastating storms, for example, causing damage to property as well as person that may never be repaired and has created a new kind of anxiety around just weather. It’s beginning to feel like tragedy is the norm. But my sense of numbness also relates to having realized relatively recently that our headlining, singular media events weren’t just isolated events of cruelty springing upon the pristine landscape of America from out of nowhere. I “suddenly” remembered that daily, hourly horror is being endured by millions around the globe, and here at home with little or no mention by the media. Or, if we do hear, it’s so far away we can shut it out. As a woman who lost her child in the CT shootings testified in Congress, since her child was killed, a certain number of children continue to die hourly, daily from guns. As well, millions of adults and children around the world are living with some horrific circumstance, arguably worse than what we’re facing in these mass media events. We’ve been able to ignore them until now. That indulgence may be over.
Everywhere around the globe someone’s child, sister, uncle is being brutalized, is living in squalor and its been so for eons. We blot it out, go on with our lives, what can we do? How to cope? It’s mind-boggling. My ability to just blot it out has all but disappeared. Perhaps this is the age of our realizing we really are “all in this together”. That we need each other and never know when, when we’ll need help from some stranger we may not have even wanted to know.
But, I’m taking a little heart. The media coverage of incidents in Boston, seemed to have an unprecedented focus on all the good going on, people racing to help the wounded, even at risk to themselves. And not just helping the injured but helping the helpers. Our new gadgets, our new technological connectedness may have made all the difference in apprehending the suspects quickly and eliminating more casualties.
Is this helpfulness new? Are we rushing to each other in ways we never did before? I don’t know, but it’s reassuring. It gives me hope. My earlier post about Everybody, every body being vitally important, powerful, was shown this week to be true. We are indeed in this together, in this world, this life necessarily connected. We’re very dependent on people we don’t know and finding they’re here for us. A man spoke in a television interview of needing to stay with his seriously injured wife at the Marathon and having to rely on, hope for the kindness of some strangers to be there for his also-injured daughter. He couldn’t be in two places. And help was immediately there.
Last night I got a lift stumbling across an old song from my childhood by The Staple Singers, “Reach Out, Take a Hand”, and that led to some other inspirations from Mavis Staples herself, the lead singer who has overcome whatever challenges she may have faced to continually reinvent herself. Maybe they’ll also give you a boost today. Let’s reach out, take a hand, be a friend: