The Pulp Girls:
So unless you live under a rock, or have been totally spaced out for the last day, you’ve probably heard about the bombing at the Boston Marathon. Violence is not at all rare when we broaden the scope outward from the American Northeast, but experiencing this kind of tragedy at such close proximity has hit lots of us with pretty powerful emotions. The US major media is kinda like a really noisy, running bull when things like this happen: throwing up alerts and speculations on their news ticker that minute by minute seem to grow more intense and more dramatic. In our talk group, Shelbie mentioned how a friend had told her about the differences in foreign news compared to our own news. American news outlets selectively present information to the public at strategic times in order to draw out specific reactions, and ratings. All the broadcasted sensationalism surrounding tragedies can easily create fear and hatred directed toward political and religious groups, fueled by dangerous generalizations. One of the scary things about these tactics is all those times these “reputable” news sources get their information wrong from the start, with sensational “breaking news” and conflicting reports, all without knowing for sure what’s happened. We have a need for instant gratification and that’s what major media aims to feed into.
Anyway, what we’re saying is that it’s important to be aware of the limitations and biases when you’re getting hit with the wall of talk and opinion from the news. Still, you’re not a computer and you’re gonna have some kind of emotional reaction to the bombings, and that’s totally 100% okay! You are allowed to be sad/angry/confused/indifferent/etcetera! You can be angry about the pain and loss felt in Boston, and you can be angry about the disproportionate coverage of “Western” tragedies, and you can be angry at people who say ignorant things! Personally, I’m a fan of getting angry, because anger can be turned into a great tool for survival awareness, and change. The same goes for getting sad: emotional reactions are just great, even when they don’t feel great. The problems arise when those raw emotions are used to justify racism. Don’t be a jerk; be aware of what you’re saying.
Coherent and thoughtful language cannot accurately express the primitive emotions that are pain and fear, especially when they are present in horrific human tragedies. Words cannot express these emotions, simply because language is not inherently human. Sometimes, only guttural noises and sounds – such as a howling scream or a gasping sob – can tell a person about pain and fear.
A general doubt of the natural goodness of people has pervaded my mind for a while now. But isn’t that the eternal question; are we born with decency and we learn to be evil, or are we born with “sin” and only through some sort of salvation can we achieve happiness and virtuosity? The recent events in America have only confused this question for the general population. Would these events stop happening if these people were able to get help for whatever was troubling them? Is it our responsibility as citizens to notice behaviors that may lead to dangerous events? Or are these occurrences bound to happen no matter what? Are there bigger things at play, such as terrorism?
All of these questions have no concrete answer, which is discomforting. People are afraid and feel unsafe, so they begin to stereotype and blame anything and anyone they can. It may be that person with a mental illness that they don’t understand, or that group whose religion that they don’t understand. The world is a scary place at the moment, but this ignorance will only breed more fear.
This is an earnest plea for everyone in the entire world. Maybe a few people will read this, but if I can just ask whoever reads this to be a little bit nicer, a little bit more understanding, especially toward someone in need, that can make a world of difference.
It doesn’t feel like a bomb – at least not in the way movies and television shows make you think of them. It feels like a train rumbling beneath my feet, or a clap of thunder in the sky. By the time I finally find out what the explosion was, the memory of the sound is almost too innocent to fit its source. Nothing changed immediately after it went off either. The sun was still shining, the sky was still blue, and I still had to wait at the streetlight that took forever to change.
I was far enough away from the marathon that I didn’t find out the source of the sound for a few minutes. If I had stayed at the finish line for any longer than I did, I would have been able to find out first hand. However, for some reason I’m blessed, and I have the privilege of waiting until my phone starts ringing (frantic calls from relatives who happened to be watching the news).
The bomb went off across the street from where I had been standing, five minutes after I had left. It feels wrong to say bomb, because those only happen in films, right? Or warzones or news stories or anything that doesn’t involve my city and my home. I’m not supposed to know what an explosion feels like when it ricochets off city buildings. I’m not supposed to know what it feels like to not know where my friends are, to not know if they were there, or if they had had the same luck that I did. I haven’t felt this kind of fear before – the panicked unsureness of what’s happening in the universe. It’s overwhelming, paralyzing, and changes your view of the world in a hot second.