I sat here with every intention of writing something meaningful about the recent Marathon Bombings, and for some reason every time I look at the screen I go blank. I have nothing left to say that hasn’t already been said. Am I angry? Yes. Was I scared? Hell yes. Do I feel sad that this 19 year old kid ruined his life by becoming one of the most hated men in modern America? Yes.
I don’t want to get into discussions with each of you about why the actions of these two young men should or shouldn’t impact how we feel about “those people…”
I don’t want to argue about nationalism and patriotism and its importance or unimportance in our schools and homes…
I definitely don’t want to talk about how some people feel this child – 19 is a child – should have been left to die a horrific lonely death in a boat in some suburban back-yard and how stupid I think that is.
I just want to heal.
I want to wake up tomorrow and not remember that last week I left work early twice frightened (once because of the bombing and once because down the street the courthouse was evacuated for a bomb scare).
I want to be sure to teach my little baby who isn’t born yet that there is more meaning to showing love in times of stress and fear than hatred.
I want all of us who came together to show respect for the first responders to stay together and not separate ourselves over politics or religion or why the grass is green.
You might be asking yourself, “What does this have to do with fiction?” Everything.
In so many of the books we read it is easy to tell who are the “good” guys and who are the “bad” guys… There is a protagonist and an antagonist. Sometimes the protagonist wins, sometimes the antagonist does and we hate him all the more. Real life isn’t that simple.
We are all “good” and we are all “evil”. It’s easy to say “they” are bad people and “we” are the good ones, but what does that mean really? We don’t know yet why this young man thought he was making a good decision to bomb our city, and we may never know if he dies in the hospital or if he simply doesn’t wish to tell investigators. In his eyes, it is likely that he sees the American public is the “bad” guys and his family (and whoever else was helping him…) as the “good” guys. Instead of separating ourselves into categories we should find ways of coming together and learning from each other. If someone felt less like an outsider, perhaps he would be less inclined to bomb a busy city street.
This month my book club chose V for Vendetta as a comic book to read. Of course this decision was made before this horrible tragedy, but I am having a difficult time reading it. For those unfamiliar, the story is about a person in disguise who is frustrated with his overpowering government who hurts its people. He takes action by bombing the parliament building and killing the evil leaders. Our main character, “V”, is a “good” guy taking action to make the world a better place. Each time I sit down to read I get distracted by the Marathon Bomber and how he probably honestly thought he was the “good” guy. It makes me feel sick.
That’s all for now on this I suppose. Our lives will never be the same, but I hope we make choices that continue to show the rest of the world what a compassionate nation we are instead of continuing down the lines of hatred.