In Times of Tragedy

I was asked a few times yesterday, in the wake of the gut wrenching events in Boston, if I would be writing a post in response. A few people noted my generally upbeat attitude toward tough times in previous posts like this and this and this. They wondered if I had any inspiration or comforting words.

I wasn't sure I did.

I'm not generally quick to react emotionally to events like this, though I did share this sentiment on Facebook:


I spoke with my good friend Andrew Detch last night. He had previously lived on the East Cost walked the streets of Boston where the bombs went off. He's among the more brilliant people I know - and the most talkative - but I could tell he didn't have exact words for this. Sure, we chatted about my comment and how statistically speaking we're super safe in the US versus say, Somalia, but how that doesn't include the inner cities of America which are war zones every day, and how terrorism thrives on shaking up feelings of security and how its too easy to demonize people who do this as if they aren't products of the same society and how often times these people are just reacting and making victims out of victimizers, etc, etc Sure, we talked about all that. But none of that is really saying anything.

Except maybe that last part. Read about serial killers. Almost each and every story starts with a dark social situation. Pain, suffering, torment, fractured families, failed friendships. Eventually the isolation breeds contempt and something darker. I think that's probably the case with most people who choose to do evil. Most of them have probably never known good, or at least not in a way that would warm them up.

What I'm getting to, is that there have been some wonderful quotes making their way around the internet in the wake of this disaster (as well as the recent Newton, CT shootings)

This one by Mr. Rogers:

"When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping."

And this one by Patton Oswalt:

"...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'."

Then I saw the Chicago Tribune Sports Section's reaction HERE.

What do all three of those things have in common? They talk about unity. They talk about response in a time of tragedy being one of togetherness. It's a powerful message, and unfortunately a message that often times it seems like only comes out when there is tragedy to respond to, but regardless, Patton and Fred Rogers' mother could not be more spot on.

Yes, evil is everywhere at all times. But so is good. And there's more of it. Pay attention to it, and be a part of it. Run to the wreckage. All together now.

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