Saturday, April 20, 2013

I Just Don't Know

I hadn't cried all week.  Until I saw this:

This undated photo shows Lingzi Lu in Boston.

I've pored over the info for the anthro program at BU--it's still on my short list for grad school applications this fall.  Ms Lu was busy doing something that I aspire to...She was lovely, and intelligent, and loved, and she died needlessly and senselessly.

Right at the end of class on Monday, someone peeked at their phone and exclaimed in horror: "There was a suicide bomber at the Boston Marathon!"  Honestly, it really didn't even register.  It didn't make any sense.  Right at that moment, class was ending, we were finishing up the class evaluation forms, having half a conversation with my team about meeting up for our final project, and half a conversation about a friend's PhD defense that day, and rushing out the door, and it didn't even properly sink in until I got outside and had a chance to check my phone.  Wait!  Doesn't my knitting buddy work in downtown Boston?  Was it al Qaida?  The only reason for a bomb at the marathon would be to kill as many people as possible.  Oh god.

Of course I looked at Facebook first, reputable news source that it is, and happily, it was a holiday and everyone I knew was far away from the marathon course.  Then it was just a matter of repeatedly checking the news sites as I sat on the bus on the way home until I could get home in front of the TV and find out what had happened.  Noone really knew anything.

A little boy who liked baseball and riding his bike.  A woman who went to the marathon to photograph her best friend's boyfriend crossing the finish line.  A grad student who had achieved her dream of coming to America to study.  All three gone.

Three dead, 140+ injured, and all was confusion.  Noone seemed to really know what was going on, nor who might be responsible.  I watched the BBC America coverage, since the BBC at least tries to keep the ridiculous speculation and inane commentary to a minimum. CNN should be ashamed of themselves for their coverage of this incident, but that's probably a different blog post.  (A quick example of CNN's crack reporting: "We see a dog. It is barking. It could be a K9 unit. We don't know. It is a dog."  Yeah.  That's a Pulitzer right there.)

I don't even know what to think...I think I just want to know why.  Not why in an existential, philosophical sense, but what on earth was the supposed 'reasoning' behind these two brothers going completely off the rails, holding a major East Coast city virtually hostage, murdering a police officer sitting harmlessly in his squad car, and terrifying a neighborhood for hours.  What.  The.  Hell. 

It's going to be completely nuts, and completely fucked up.  It already is, but I can deal with that.  If they thought they wanted to join a terrorist organization and that something like this would impress the head honcho so they could get their al Qaida decoder rings, fine.  If they were in the throes of folie a deux, fine.  If they had daddy issues, or were mad because they never got to date the head cheerleader, or thought that we were all infidels who deserved what we got, fine, fine, fine.  Because we are never going to really understand this. 

I wish I had something awesome to say, some profound insight or inspirational quote that would bring this whole thing around to some form of closure.  Then we could all be okay with it, and there'd be rainbows and dancing puppies and everything would be as okay as it could be after such a terrible tragedy.

But I can't.  This is how things are now.  This is the way things are going to be for the rest of our lives.  And when I ask why, it's not a "Why do bad things happen to good people?" kind of question, it's a lot more like I want 5 minutes in a room with this kid so I can grab him by the lapels and shout in his face: "What the fuck is your problem, you little shit?"

Right now, until we can figure out what has actually happened, the only thing I can think of is to make sure we don't jump to any conclusions or make any assumptions that we know what went down, or who was involved, or what their connections might have been, until we actually have some real information.  I made that mistake last night, posting a rumor about a possible arrest, and my only excuse is that it was five in the morning after a long night of watching the news and pondering the situation, and the improbable seemed like a possibility.  It was just dumb.  And I am just waiting for the assumptions to begin, for people to decide that a particular religious belief had anything to do with anything, when we still just do not know.

I don't have any answers.  I don't expect to anytime soon. We can make our donations to charities helping the survivors, and fill up the blood banks if you're able to donate...And don't forget to tell your favorite people how much you love them, every day.

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