I happened to be on Twitter when people started to talk about the bombings at the Boston Marathon yesterday, the messages of disbelief and outrage pouring onto my timeline faster than I could click all the links to news stories. I still haven’t seen the live footage, having been spared after someone tweeted that you could actually see limbs flying and I decided not to look.
I am angry and sad and mourning the three lives lost so senselessly, right along with the rest of my country. I do not mean to diminish or downplay what happened yesterday when I say that I wasn’t all that surprised to hear about the bombs. And I am angry all over again that I am not surprised. I am so, so pissed that this type of thing has happened enough times in my life – in my country, to my people – that it is no longer a shock to hear of bombings and terrorism and shootings and children dying. That the words we use to talk about these events are becoming overly familiar, cliched. I don’t want my husband and I to have to come up with a plan for how to talk to our daughter – who is seven months old – about this type of thing because we know that one day all too soon it will have to be explained in terms that won’t terrify her. Do such words even exist?
I am enraged that there were members of the Sandy Hook community running in memory of those lost at the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in December that had to go through yet another traumatic event just as they were maybe beginning to heal.
And under all this anger is, of course, fear. Boston, Newtown, NYC, Columbine, Oklahoma City. Big cities, small towns, where will the next tragic event strike in our nation? Will it be my child huddled in a classroom while a shooter opens fire on her school someday? My loved ones bombed at their places of business or leisure? When will this end, and what do we have to do as a nation to make it stop? To protect our children?
It feels like we go through the same motions each time something like this happens, and we should do anything we can think of that feels like helping, but what can we do to prevent this besides add metal detectors and over-the-top security measures to yet another place or event in our nation?
The status quo isn’t working and I am very afraid.