One week ago, I sat, as much of the world did, in a state of confusion and disbelief as I watched the news reports coming out of Boston.
So much confusion and so many unanswered questions...
Why did this happen?
Who would do such a thing?
Are they working alone?
Are there more attacks to come?
At the same time, I was captivated by the reports of incredible courage and fortitude displayed by the police, the emergency responders, and even ordinary citizens. People who went out of their way to help the injured. Venturing into the fray of madness, not knowing if something else would happen.
More Questions came to mind...
Would I have the courage to do this?
What if I had been there?
Would I have run away, frightened and scared?
I watched the news more last week, than at any other previous time in life, with the exception of 9-11. I followed breaking stories on twitter (great job by the Boston Globe, btw). I saw pictures "leaked" of the suspects...that weren't really the suspects. I read, watched, and listened to every sprinkle of information I could get on the subject.
Thursday night, when the FBI released the photos and video of the Tsarnaev brothers was released (not yet knowing who they were) I was glued. I exclaimed to my wife "someone knows those guys...something is going to happen". We went to bed, and I had the television on watching the reports and updates over and over. Right before she finally made me shut it off and go to sleep, the news broke that there had been a shooting at MIT.
I woke the next day to hear the news that the older brother had died in a shootout, but the younger brother had escaped. As I returned home after work, I was amazed that he hadn't been caught yet. I watched news (and yes, followed twitter) as the investigation seemed to fail, and the "lockdown" order was lifted. And then, so suddenly, they had the suspect surrounded, and were able to capture him.
What does this all mean?
I know some will place blame at the hands of the FBI, who had some information about the older brother a few years back.
I know some will say that it shows how violent and unstable the world has become.
I know some will place blame at our politicians. And it doesn't matter what their ideology is.
Some may also think this is "just the start" and that other tragic events are sure to follow.
I am not certain what to think.
We certainly live in a dangerous and fascinating time in history. When people around the world can witness events so tragic live in their own homes. When people living in South Dakota, Montana, or heck, even Indonesia can follow the pursuit and capture of a criminal suspect in Boston in real time.
The times may be dangerous. Life may be uncertain.
But this has always been true. As a child of the Cold War, I remember "The Day After". I remember growing up under the threat of nuclear holocaust. The belief that the Soviet Union was evil, and they would not rest until the world ended.
I choose instead, to believe in humanity. To believe in the people who went charging into the fray, to help the wounded.
There may be many things to fear in this world. But there is so much more to celebrate. Take care of your loved ones, and continue to believe in the goodness of man.
The old adage "Count Your Blessings" is a wise and sincere thought in times like these.