The most difficult part about writing a weekly column is deciding which topic to tackle. Thousands of ideas merit 600 words of exploration — many more topics deserve a greater space than this column provides.
Attempting a column of extreme gravity is emotionally draining. I just can’t do it every week — especially on Monday afternoons, the time I generally devote to column creation.
Some events, though, can’t be ignored — they must be addressed.
Some events in history deserve so many words — yet they just don’t come. Such is the case with the events last week in Boston.
I, like millions of others, watched in disbelief as bombs sent shrapnel through crowds at the Boston Marathon. Being part of the news industry, I was forced to keep abreast of the latest happenings. I spent the majority of Friday afternoon and evening glued to the television, on edge as the most impressive manhunt in my memory unfolded in the suburbs — a place not unlike my hometown St. Louis County.
I observed the moments when officers coaxed the Caucasian suspect — and I mean Caucasian literally, he’s from the Caucasus region of Asia — out of his hiding place and took him into custody.
Suburban homeowners, teenagers, families, senior citizens, people from all walks of life filled the streets in Watertown with a collective sigh of relief, congratulating officers and FBI agents on bringing the man to justice.
Flags waved and people cheered as pride in America swelled.
The air of the nation seemed — it’s difficult to pinpoint the exact emotion — almost celebratory.
Sitting in my apartment at the Lake of the Ozarks, I couldn’t wrap my head around celebrating the moment. At risk of sounding sympathetic towards the bomber, let me clarify that I have none. Like just about everyone else, I’m glad he was taken off the street before more harm could be done at his hands. And honestly, his capture, and probably eventual death will lead to some sense of closure for the families of the four people who died.
But, in my mind, celebration had no part of the events last week. Relief, yes. Sadness, certainly.
I can’t imagine feeling elation to the point of celebration in the midst of so much sadness. Sadness for the families of the dead. Sadness for the people maimed by senseless violence. Sadness for a city brought to its knees at the hands of two people. (And let’s hope to everything holy that it’s only two people.)
And, believe it or not, sadness for the perpetrators. I read a Tweet from a friend criticizing a broadcaster for questioning what happened in the young men’s lives for them to make these decisions. She thought the examination of the suspects humanized terrorists — people clearly not human in her opinion.
Page 2 of 2 - I disagree with that.
I don’t believe people are inherently evil. I don’t think anyone is born and just thinks out of the blue, “Let’s go place a bomb in the middle of a populated, traditional event.”
I do think something happened in the minds of these people. And that does make me sad.
Again, not more sad than the lives of countless people that are forever changed.
Maybe it’s because I don’t live in the Boston metropolitan area that I don’t understand.
Celebration wasn’t the response for me.
It makes me sad to see celebration attached to tragedy.
And I just can’t get past that.