Heading Home

Bags go unclaimed after the race. From Slate.
Bags go unclaimed after the race. From Slate.

I’m about to head to the airport and head home. Brian and I – since we had nothing else to do – went to Paul Revere’s House yesterday and walked part of the Freedom Trail, but at least one of the landmarks was being evacuated when we got there. So, it was a weird outing.

There’s still some odd details of the events I’m not quite following (and obviously bigger picture things, of course), like how one girl said she was able to get on the subway an hour or so after the attacks but before they shut it down, yet ten minutes after the explosions the stop we tried to enter was being evacuated, or how news reports keep saying it happened just after four hours into the race. Four hours into the race was just after 2 p.m. I was standing there just after 2 p.m. I would have had to have walked through that devastation and not noticed. It was really just after four hours into the race for the people that started at 10:40 a.m.

It also turns out a lot of the news reports from Monday — news reports from very credible places like The Associated Press — were just wrong. Not in a fear-mongering, panic kind of way. But, just wrong. Like, cell phone service didn’t get shut down; it just sucked with all the people trying to make calls. I know, of course, that news reports immediately after events are notoriously unreliable, but when The Boston Globe says that police are saying they’re safely self-detonating a third found bomb at such-and-such intersection after clearing the area, why wouldn’t I believe that? (It wasn’t true, apparently. But what is truth.)

In the aftermath of most disasters, I find myself on the side of logic and calm rationale thought. Let’s not jump to conclusions, let’s be reasonable, no declarations of coming back stronger or staying united at the same time we descend into finger-pointing and racial profiling, let’s all just do what we can to help each other get through this. But, this time, I found myself getting annoyed with the heavy-handed condescension from people in other places to be reasonable and not jump to conclusions and remember that so many people die around the world everyday, this is just one attack. They might be right, but this time I was annoyed.

I was in a store once where there was a small fire in the back. It was put out quickly by an employee and everyone was fine. As that happened, though, there was a stampede of people panicking, trying to ensure that they got out, screw everyone else. I didn’t see that happen here — with far more at stake. Yes, there are reports that one victim was mistreated because of suspicion completely unfairly cast on to him. And, that is terrible. But, for the most part, people were calm and reasonable and did what police told them to and stayed out of the way (or helped in whatever way they could help) and came to each other’s aid. It seemed to me — not in a journalist, outside perspective way, but actually here — that people did about as good as they could have done.

One thought on “Heading Home

  1. I hate the “remember how many people die in other places” argument. Of course people die everywhere everyday – many in very unfair circumstances. But it is totally natural (and I would say important) that we have a stronger response to the loss of people in our own community. It’s what binds us to one another. To imply that it’s just jingoism or American self-centeredness is offensive posturing.

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