Whenever I have a strong reaction to an event, I always question myself. Most of my regular readers will know that I don’t delve into current affairs very often, if at all. I stopped watching the news about seven months ago on the advice of one of my best friends and it freed my mind and my time. Instead of a 6pm ritual of turning on the television, I began reading, writing, dancing, listening to music or having a cuppa or a cider on my balcony. You’ll also know that I’m a lover and a fighter in equal parts. A lover of peace, kindness and compassion, but in equal parts a fighter when it comes to my dis-ease and if someone I love is being hurt.
But with the wrecking ball of a situation in Boston after the marathon bombing and the shooting of a police officer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, I’ve had a rising bubbling in my belly. Then this morning when I was checking in with what was going on in the world, I saw this photo which made me feel uncomfortable.
I can only comprehend the relief people felt when the perpetrators were respectively killed and caught, but to celebrate in this way by high-fiving and fist-pumping just doesn’t bode well with me. Relief and celebration are two very different things, as William Campbell, whose sister Krystle was killed while waiting for a friend to cross to the finish line. He told the Boston Globe: ‘I’m happy that nobody else is going to get hurt by these guys, but it’s not going to bring her back.’
My imagination cannot and does not afford me how the families of the killed and maimed must feel. Their hurt, anger and horror are nearly impossible to reconcile, but celebrating the death of another human being – as inhuman as they may be, and as inhumane as the acts they carried out – a celebration doesn’t gel with me. I understand how the concept works for others, but the byline of ‘We got them’ didn’t have me in a state of rejoice. It was more of an abatement of pressure that no one else was going to be hurt. But it also made me question.
Why did these two brothers do what they did? What drove them to kill and wound as many people as they could with their crudely made bombs? One brother was a medical student, learning how to extend life, not take. Perhaps we will never know, despite the current and future media speculation this case will attract. It is easy to not treat these people as human beings.
Seeing the photo of celebrating crowds, my stomach turned. I called upon my compassion for both the dead and the survivors, including the two brothers who have caused interminable pain and suffering for thousands of people for generations to come. But what of their families? There has to be compassion on both sides if we are to march through the grief and emerge on the other side, stronger and united in our stand and passion for peace. May the river of compassion always run through you. Then again, sometimes compassion is not enough.
In case there is any confusion, in no way, shape or form am I downplaying what dreadful acts were carried out in Boston last week, nor am I saying it’s ‘ok’. It’s not. Innocent people were murdered and seriously wounded.
All I’m trying to do is sit in a state of compassion, which is not always easily done in situations like these. But I am trying, and I believe that counts for something. I’m inviting a ‘call to compassion’ instead of a ‘call to arms’. Your thoughts, please ♥