Something horrific happened in Boston, to Boston, to people who congregated in that resilient city for the annual Boston Marathon. Two explosive devices went off near the finish line when many were getting close to accomplish what was one of the most impressive feats, running in and finishing a marathon. There were a lot of footages and photos, and in some sense, the event was live streamed via various social media. There was one photo that emerged and was shared and reshared right away. Even though folks helpfully added #NSFW as a warning, I still got a glimpse of it because Twitter automatically shows the full image in the live stream. At first I did not even realize what the large ares of redness on the ground meant. There was so much red. Bright red. I thought it was paint because it was so errily bright. Later it hit me, and I started crying.
My first reaction as I sat here staring at my computer screen obsessively hitting refresh, refresh, refresh, feeling utter disbelief and helplessness, was “What’s wrong with people? With humanity? With this world?” Thanks to Twitter (with whom I am secretly in love) I came across the calming perspective provided by Mr. Rogers (or rather, Grandma Rogers), “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”
It is true. Hundreds of Bostonians soon started using this Google spreadsheet “I have a place to offer” to open up their homes to runners and their families who are stranded because of the tragedy and the ensuing chaos.
Still, one could easily dismiss Mr. Rogers for being too nice, too trusting, too optimistic. I needed more. And I found it in an unlikely place… Patton Oswalt. You know, the stand-up comedian who’s not known for having a sunny, “look on the bright side”, personna?
I really appreciated his reminding us that in many of the video footages you could see clearly that when the explosion happened, many instead of running away ran towards the explosion to help.
If you are feeling lost, sad, helpless, and especially if you are feeling angry, read what he said. I like the math he did.