It’s easy to go negative today. It’s easy to think the world is coming apart, and that we’ve become barbaric. Stop. It isn’t. The opposite is true: we’re safer than we’ve ever been, and we’re coming together like never before.
Just think about the guy falling in the video we’ve all seen over and over again. (Circled above) His story could be the positive we’re all looking for…
That being said, it’s of little consolation to those victims in Boston today, and my prayers go out to them.
First of all — the face of today’s tragedy in Boston will always be the older runner in the video they showed over and over, who was knocked over by the blast. Either from shrapnel, or the concussion from the bomb. Nearing the end of what could have been a life long goal, he was felled.
I used to tell a joke that I wanted to get a sticker for the back of my car that said “26.1” so that cars driving by me would wonder to themselves, “what happened to him in the last tenth of a mile?”
26.1 has a new significance to me today. The lone runner falling to the ground.
Someone on facebook has told me they heard a race official went over picked him up, and with his arm around him, helped him across the finish line. I want to believe that’s true. I want that to be a symbol of this day.
UPDATE: The runner’s name is Bill Iffrig. He is a 70 year old runner from the State of Washington. He is okay. He WAS indeed helped across the finish line by race officials.
I just started reading this book, and I believe it’s something everyone needs to at least know about.
Here’s a brief synopsis courtesy of Amazon:
The most startling thing about disasters, according to award-winning author Rebecca Solnit, is not merely that so many people rise to the occasion, but that they do so with joy. That joy reveals an ordinarily unmet yearning for community, purposefulness, and meaningful work that disaster often provides. A Paradise Built in Hell is an investigation of the moments of altruism, resourcefulness, and generosity that arise amid disaster’s grief and disruption and considers their implications for everyday life. It points to a new vision of what society could become-one that is less authoritarian and fearful, more collaborative and local.
We were led to believe all hell broke loose in New Orleans following Katrina, but the opposite is true — people sacrificed for each other, they helped each other, they found common ground and they rebuilt.
Comedian Patton Oswalt posted this shortly after today’s incident and it follows the theme of the book:
Boston. Fucking horrible.
I remember, when 9/11 went down, my reaction was, “Well, I’ve had it with humanity.”
But I was wrong. I don’t know what’s going to be revealed to be behind all of this mayhem. One human insect or a poisonous mass of broken sociopaths.
But here’s what I DO know. If it’s one person or a HUNDRED people, that number is not even a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a percent of the population on this planet. You watch the videos of the carnage and there are people running TOWARDS the destruction to help out. (Thanks FAKE Gallery founder and owner Paul Kozlowski for pointing this out to me). This is a giant planet and we’re lucky to live on it but there are prices and penalties incurred for the daily miracle of existence. One of them is, every once in awhile, the wiring of a tiny sliver of the species gets snarled and they’re pointed towards darkness.
But the vast majority stands against that darkness and, like white blood cells attacking a virus, they dilute and weaken and eventually wash away the evil doers and, more importantly, the damage they wreak. This is beyond religion or creed or nation. We would not be here if humanity were inherently evil. We’d have eaten ourselves alive long ago.
So when you spot violence, or bigotry, or intolerance or fear or just garden-variety misogyny, hatred or ignorance, just look it in the eye and think, “The good outnumber you, and we always will.”
So — ask yourself — is today a sign that we’ve lost our humanity, or is it another opportunity to prove we have it. The choice, as always yours.