By now everyone has heard of the horrifically tragic events that occured in Boston today. Around 4
hours in to the historic Boston Marathon race, two bombs went off, killing 2 so far, and injuring more than 80 others.
I'm calling it the New Boston Massacre simply because it's in Boston, it's a massacre, and it has some name recognition properties.
Amidst these times that try mens' souls (thank you Tommy Paine), we have to make a concerted effort to fight our natural instincts on how to react to such tragedy. Here's a short list of what we shouldn't do.
1. Don't make assumptions - There will no doubt be a lot of speculation thrown around about who may have done this, at least until we get some more facts or until someone cops to it. What we should not do is start blaming various groups of people. There will be some who will automatically assume that it must be Islamic terrorists. Some might say that it's a bunch of right-wing nuts who did it. Others might start throwing around the "C Word" (conspiracy). Whatever it might look like, we need to wait until there is definitive evidence as to whodunit. Otherwise, we are going to further divide an already divided nation. So please, be prudent and WAIT.
2. Don't play the blame game - This sounds an awful lot like what I just said, but I'm thinking of a different blame game. What we don't want to do is start blaming things other than the culprits i.e. politicians, the FBI, video games, eroding American society, etc.. The fact of the matter is that no matter what is going on right now, only those actually responsible for the acts can truly be blamed for what they've done. It's not Activision's fault for publishing Call of Duty. It's not Obama's fault for wanting to impose stricter gun laws. It's not America's fault for being a different society than it was 50 years ago. It's not the fault of the FBI because, let's face it, they're only human.
3. Don't exacerbate the politics of it - It's a possibility that the reason behind the bombing was political. I think it's rare that we see this level of violence that purely springs from the whims of a psychopath. No matter what the message is, no matter the culprit, and no matter the implications of things, we must not politicize this any further. Politicizing it only serves to divide us even further, and it will make government even more deadlocked than before. It doesn't matter if the perpetrator is a Right Wing Nut Job or a Left Wing Commie Revolutionist, we cannot blame any set of ideas for the person's actions.
4. Don't abandon the principles of true justice - Whoever did this has caused a lot of pain and suffering, but that suffering will be for naught if we sacrifice our souls to exact our pound of flesh. Whoever did this must be brought to justice in the manner the Constitution has set forth. He must receive a fair trial and given sentence. He may not languish in the forgotten realms of Guantanamo Bay. Although we may want him to die or suffer in some unimagineable way, we must stay our lust for vengeance. A rational society is one that behaves reasonably in even the most irrational circumstances.
5. Don't let them win - The whole point of terrorism is to force a people to abandon some principle or course of action. Although America is not always right in its opinions or courses of action, we must always keep vigilant to err on the side of justice and reason. If we allow our baser natures to prevail, then whoever did this will have achieved his goal. Such a person seeks to unravel society at the seams, and if we let the terror take over--if we give in to our animal instinct of survival, and our human instinct of vengeance--then society will continue to erode irrevocbly.