The Other I

April 17, 2013

The other side of the bombs

Filed under: Just Stuff — theotheri @ 9:17 pm

Celebrating the death of Margaret Thatcher with joyous renditions of Ding Dong the Witch is Dead felt cruel to me.

But then there was the Boston Marathon bombing.

I felt horror and pain and outrage.  But there was a part of me that should help me understand the Ding Dong singers.  I found myself hoping that this bombing – awful as it is – might give Americans some insight into what it must feel like to be living in an Afghanistan village hit by an American drone strike.

Apart from that thought, which I confess gave me little comfort, I could see little that was positive in most of this week.

Then I read an article by William Rivers Pitt.  He was reminded of the advice given to frightened children:  “Look for the helpers.  You will always find people who are helping.”

And so it was in Boston. Not just the police and medical professionals ran into the smoke.  Runners and people who’d come to cheer them on ran into the potential danger to help.  They used their own belts and scarves as tourniquets.  They literally saved lives.

In that sense, the bombers failed.  This was Boston, where they ran to the sound and the smoke to help each other.

No, I’m not a Pollyanna about all this.  I am too well aware that there was dancing in the streets in America when Osama bin Laden was killed.  I know the opposing parties in Washington have already begun to blame each other for the Boston outrage.

But at least not every impulse in the American psyche is to shoot first and worry about innocent victims after we have wrecked what we think of as our justified self-defense.  There are helpers.  There is heroic selflessness.  There is another side of the bombs.



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