Although it’s very sad to see the descriptions of the Boston victims such as “Heart of Gold” and “She made everyone feel special” this also makes me think, the reason so many good people get hurt in these tragedies is that there are so many more good people than bad.
I am proud to be a member of the Boston Community. Despite the bombings and the events surrounding the capture of the suspects, I feel safe here.
It’s been an extremely emotional week. Thankfully I was not at the finish line on Monday. But my charity organization had 10 people running the marathon, and I had given finish line passes to other volunteers for our charity. Being at the office with readily accessible internet access turned out to be an even greater blessing. We were able to track down our runners and friends through email, Facebook, the Google People Finder for the Boston Marathon, and lastly by called the person with finish lines passes at home and reaching him when he finally returned home that evening. That’s when I lost it and my emotional disruption lasted through Tuesday. It wasn’t until I went running that evening that life started to feel more normal.
So I tried to avoid the news, to focus my energy and nervousness into something positive like healthy exercise, and cope with the other difficulties life has deposited in my lap this month. And to focus on the outpouring of love and support, anything positive related to the event.
Then I awoke early Friday morning ready to get ready for work. My boyfriend was already awake and reading the news. He starts telling me about the updated news reports … the bombing suspects robbed a 711 and had a shootout with police (waiting for the Frontline coverage of these events to know the real truth)… I could not believe the story and asked if he was telling me a dream he had. There was no way this crazy story was based in reality. Some of those details have now been revised, but that was the story at the time. And we learned of the “Shelter in Place” lockdown expanding to our town, and the events in Watertown were no more than 2 miles away. We expected that the end was near and we would go on with life. The day long lockdown resulted in us staying indoors with the doors locked and listening to the continuous news coverage.
Eventually I had the feeling of being hostage. I didn’t want to open my door, I didn’t want to drive my car, it was difficult to look outside and once it started getting dark I closed the blinds. Granted, this is the most favorable hostage situation imaginable, being with my bf, able to talk to family, to read, do chores, and try to distract myself. We had no idea what information was true, where the suspect was, or what his motivations were.
Then just as they called off the lockdown, without fresh insight to the suspect’s whereabouts, the report of new exchange of gunfire (not sure of the facts here) and possible knowledge of his whereabouts. Thankfully they have captured this 19 year old, and throughout Friday’s events no civilians were injured. Boston celebrated last night, and we will heal. But there is still risk of consequences from this attack. We must stay vigilant to avoid harming innocent people just because they share ethnicity, immigration status, or religious belief with these terrorists. There are already reports of random acts of violence, and the discussion around immigration is referencing this event.
It’s a reminder for each of us to do what we can to improve our local community. Fear and hatred are the problems and the underlying source of these tragedies, not the answers.
We are so grateful for the law enforcement people who went toward danger to capture these terrorists. Their diligence and coordination kept the residents of Watertown safe during each encounter, and no additional injury or fatality was added to the toll.
It will be a long time before the true facts are known and we must avoid spreading information that is not yet fact. We have received little tidbits of information, which are sometimes revised. Now that we have one of the culprits, hopefully additional truth can be discovered.
Our vigilance is still needed, to prevent additional acts of terrorism. This event is not reason to attack people of Russian or Chechnyan decent, or people of Muslim faith. There are disturbed and harmed people in all communities and faiths. This is our opportunity to learn the harms inflicted on these two brothers, and for each of us to improve our communities and social interactions to avoid repeated offenses.
We cannot use this bombing to affect our view of immigration. I can’t imagine the level of detailed analysis required to detect this kind of behavior in a person, especially given the classmates reports of a bright, friendly, social young man who never gave any indication of having the capability to perform an act like this bombing. The reports of the Mercedes owner being let go, and the Watertown resident who discovered the 19 year old in the boat left unharmed, I can only imagine this person to still have some humanity left in him.
At the same time we are processing this event, we also mourn the explosion in Texas where the loss of life is even greater. Whether by carelessness or negligence, it is a reminder of that our lives are continuously in the hands of others. And we have the lives of others within our influence as well. We must not lose our focus on responsibilities that affect the lives of others.
I heard this story on the radio show This American Life, and it made me think. Most parents are trying to give their kids a “better life.” The dad in the story is maybe an extreme version of a particular behavior that I think all people share. The main story is a bit crazy to think about, but the underlying story between the dad and the two daughters is interesting and I think enlightening about human nature in general.
The dad had a rough childhood, and we don’t get the full story of what he went through but apparently it involved verbal and physical abuse. For him, he knew that was not good parenting and he wanted to do better with his own children. Although he did better than his parents, it was still not good enough to earn the respect of his two daughters and the girls have now cut off contact with him. Surprisingly, some of the behavior he hated in his own parents, he repeated toward his own family. It’s hard to know how conscious his re-enactment of the bad behaviors, because during the interview he denies that part of the story.
If the story is true, we can imagine how the dad developed coping mechanisms to distort reality, just to deal with the abuse he suffered as a kid. In a way, although he knew this behavior was not normal, it was normal to him. And therefor, the definition of being a good parent was altered to believe that being better than his parents was enough. I believe, that in a way, his entire parenting process was an attempt to hide the difficulties of his own childhood. However, having not dealt with his difficult childhood, he wasn’t prepared to be a supportive and non-abusive father.
The same discussion happens in the end of this Radiolab story. The initial story is wildly unusual. But it circles around to another difficult childhood and lifelong consequences as a person and a parent.
There are many ways to donate to the world. Financially, or Time, depending on your schedule and preference. As the world expands in population, and more distance is created between people, we are losing our community support systems. I suggest you review all charities and groups in advance of supporting them. If you're like me and you have no idea how to do this on your own, see if they have asked…
Raise your hand if you have been bullied at some point in your life. If you can read this, I expect you are raising your hand. It doesn’t matter what age, gender, skin color, native language, etc. It’s a natural reaction when we are not taught to behave otherwise. Typically bullying is a reaction to stress (www.bullying.org). And who is not stressed at some point in their life?
The number of groups and news reports about bullying gives me hope that we will soon have the tools to stop the bullying behavior. Dateline even did an episode secretly watching kids to see if they will participate in bullying. Ways people are stopping Bullying behavior:
- Strategies for Success includes statistics on improvements for kids using these strategies.
- Review the Challenge at thebullyproject.startempathy.org
- Maisie Miller, a high school student in Massachusetts, teamed up with students to stop the bullying behavior. And asks that people do not retaliate as that would just continue the cycle.
- Southern Poverty Law Center organizes their discussions around the topic of the bullying.
- WebMD discusses ideas to stop bullying for boys and girls.
- Kids have created ideas such as this website for Comic Strips to stop bullying.
- Or review these 8 Kid Power skills
- More ideas from kids at Pacer’s site National Bullying Prevention Center
What if your child is the bully?
- Warning Signs to look for that your child might be a bully.
- Why kids bully on Education.com
- Signs that your child is being bullies, or is a bully on GreatSchools.org
Thanks to RaisingAwareness for your post and reminding me to complete this post.
This interactive map shows recent crime activity across the US, and shows the location of registered sex offenders. You can filter for certain dates and types of crime too. Some towns do not report to this site, so if you do not see any information about your community, that may not be interpreted as a crime free location.
boston.com also shows the homicide rates over several years.
I hope everyone stays safe tonight.
In The New York Times’ series on inequality in America, Columbia professor and Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz recently argued that measurable social mobility in America is incongruent with the often ascribed “land of opportunity” label. Stiglitz did reference data from a reputable source (The Brookings Institution) to draw his conclusions, but his interpretation of said data is perplexing.
According to Stiglitz, “only 58 percent of Americans born into the bottom fifth of income earners move out of that category, and just 6 percent born into the bottom fifth move into the top.”
Absolutely! In the 90′s people started making computer programs that will have conversations with people. Some of the researchers enjoyed talking for hours with these programs, even though they knew the programs aren’t real. What is described in these stories on an episode of Radiolab suggests that these programs were successful at addressing a basic human desire.
We all desire to be understood, by friends, partners, coworkers etc. Listening to this podcast makes me wonder if these programs shed light on a secret to happiness. How many people are frustrated with their relationships because of communication problems? This goes beyond the 5 Languages of Love. Would we be satisfied with an inanimate object to talk to? And then would that allow us to be satisfied with our relationships as they are?
I wonder how this will be developed in the future, and if this characteristic will be a major factor toward people having robots at home. What if we could purchase a Rosie the robot like the Jetsons had? If furbies can bring comfort to children and the elderly, how might this technology be expanded in the future?
One of the benefits of my boyfriend is I’m pretty sure that I know what I’m getting. I may not like everything about the way he behaves, but I am confident there is nothing hidden behind the scenes. But in general, I don’t think that’s true with most people. I concede that one can never be 100% certain, and it’s awful to hear about the situations where people are caught off guard about their friends, spouses, or children.
Last week, an admin manager at my company plead guilty to two counts of embezzlement with previous employers. We are all very surprised that such a person could be hired by our firm to begin with. I have also heard the stories of a former employer who was fired after downloading or printing inappropriate photos at the office. This was before my time and I never met this person, so I have no idea what their personality was or how they interacted with people.
I just finished the book Between Good and Evil, which is a memoir of sorts by Roger L. Depue who was leading developer of criminal profiling with the FBI. What they learned in the early years of the program, is how the sophisticated serial killers hide among us as normal and regular people. They also discovered the pattern of genetic characteristics in people subject to terrible abuse at a young age, common in these people who became unremorseful killers.
We all have been surprised by the character of people we thought we knew well. And we all have been in vulnerable situations where the character of the people around us are critical to our safety. Especially as young people, we often do not think to maintain a safety system in case of emergency, or avoid putting ourselves in vulnerable situations.
It’s amazing how people are improving major problems in the world.
- Violence: Ronny Edry is a graphic designer who is using Facebook to to spread love between Israel and Iran, but it has now spread to all nations around the world. Just as violence begets more violence, we learn how Love can be spread as well, and multiplied.
- Education: buildOn is teaching kids in the US how to make a difference in the world and building schools in the most remote locations where the lack of education leads to extreme poverty.
- Domestic Violence and Women’s Rights: the book and documentary Half the Sky gives a detailed view if education, violence, and sexual issues women face around the world, but also shows the local programs and support networks being developed by those same people suffering from the abuse.
- Child Abuse: the Children’s Trust Fund in Massachusetts is focused on supporting families and parental development as a means to stop child abuse, we have to stop the cycle.
- Health: The Bill & Melinda Gates foundation made it a priority to support vaccine distribution.