This past week has been filled with tragedy, fear and relief for not only the city of Boston, but the entire country. The events seem to be more like a season of the television show “24” than actual reality.
While I’m not discrediting the tragedy of the matter, it’s still important to keep in perspective that this is not an uncommon occurrence.
The amount of media attention and outpouring of support was far beyond any coverage of any incident in the war-torn countries of the Middle East. There were no fundraising efforts for the people of Syria or the rest of the nations that went through Arab Spring, which I’m sadly sure that a vast majority of the student body thinks means an unusually warm April.
I can see why the attacks on Boston hit so heavily on the American population. It was a mass causality event that affected the lives of normal Americans. The imagery that was supplied by the numerous photographers and videographers from the finish line gave the public a horrific yet honest look at the event and its aftermath. It also eventually led to the identification of the two suspects.
Yet before the identification of the bombers, amateur detectives scoured photos of the event to try and identify the perpetrators. And to go perfectly alongside our history of xenophobia, these “investigators” identified two Arab men as the bombers.
While they turned out to be innocent bystanders like so many others, their innocence was only secured after being shamed and called terrorists, even by the front page of the New York Post.
This event also showed a lot about our media culture. Two days after the bombings, reports came out that they had arrested an individual. In what seemed to be a bad game of telephone, these reporters morphed between media outlets to start including ethnicities, saying they have identified but not arrested, and a sleuth of other misreportings.
It wasn’t until the Boston police department announced that they still had no information on the identification on the bomber did those reports subside.
The long-term effects of such an incident will unfold, and there’s no way in predicting when another event like this one will occur again. But we cannot let an event like this change our way of life. Unlike previous events which have changed how we travel on airplanes, repercussions from an event like this would be much more universal.
One shining point from this dark week is seeing or hearing stories of people who leapt into action. And to those, Mr. Rogers put it best: “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”