How To Be in Response to Terrorism

It’s tempting this morning, the day after the bombing of the Boston Marathon, to sink into despair, to tighten up in fear. Just what the terrorists had in mind.

So what is my responsibility at this moment?

Of all the images that have burned into my mind, I need to chose the image of people “running toward the fire”, the people tearing down the barriers to get to the wounded. There were many more helpers there than destroyers – bystanders, marathon workers, police, soldiers, security staff, medics, nurses, doctors, hospital staff. There were those who documented events and brought what they witnessed to us.

And yet, the overwhelming pity we feel for the victims’ pain and loss threatens to outweigh the good. They are in the thick of it, but most of us are not. I am not. I have distance. My job is not to add to the thought-form of terror and despair. What I need to do today is not just to “keep calm and carry on”, but to focus on goodness and light, not in some airy-fairy new age way but at a very concrete level. I, personally, can do that by remembering how parents and uncles and aunts and teachers and all the others who “run toward the fire”, outnumber and more than balance the deluded bombers. I cannot and never could afford to give in to terrorism.

What works for me isn’t necessarily going to work for someone else. You may use some other method of restoring your positive outlook. It might be compassion or faith in God or something else. Feel free to share it.

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