Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A reflection on the Boston Marathon bombing - lights in the darkness

As I followed the course of yesterday's events in Boston, I noted that we appear to have learned from September 11.  We haven't learned the lessons that the demagogues who tried to use September 11 as a hammer to try to force us to come around around to their way of thinking would have wanted to, but I think we have learned more important ones.  Here's are the lessons that I observed in action:

  • Help the people who need help.  This was reflected not only in the people on the scene who rushed to the aid of the injured, but also in those who at a distance sought to find how they could best help.
  • When you pass on information, make sure it's from a trustworthy source.  The New York Post found itself with egg on its face yesterday after announcing that the police had a suspect in custody.  The Boston Police Department, on the other hand, is deserving of massive kudos for the attention they paid to making sure people had accurate and relevant information.
  • Don't let people use the tragedy for their own ends.  Every scammer who tried to work their way into the dialogue was quickly shut down.  Every demagogue who sought to use the bombing for their own ends (I'm looking at you, Alex Jones.*) was promptly shouted down.    And someone has already purchased the domain bostonmarathonconspiracy.com in order to keep it out of the hands of conspiracy theorists.
  • There's no need to stay around and listen to  news coverage from people who don't know anything.  After 9/11, the news media filled the space between facts with the blathering of any talking head who was willing to sit in front of a camera, and people ate it up.  Yesterday the media once again brought out the talking heads, but people weren't having it.  They were turning the news off after they had the facts of the matter, or else ignoring the media entirely and getting their news directly from the source.
In short, even as I was witnessing some of the worst of human behavior, I was also witnessing some of the best.  To everyone who behaved like a decent, thoughtful, good human being yesterday:  My hat is off to you.  In a time of darkness, you managed to stand up for the best of what makes up human.

*  Please note that I am linking to the Wikipedia entry about Alex Jones, not to any of Jones' numerous conspiracy sites.  I want to provide information to those that need it, but not to provide Jones with any more links.

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