While I’m no longer alternating between crying and staring blankly into space, it’s still too soon for me to go back to my default setting of trying to amuse. Instead, I’ve been wrestling with how much the bombings at last week’s Boston Marathon affected me versus how little I care about the many horrible things that happen elsewhere around the world on a regular basis. And this makes me feel pretty terrible about myself.
I cut down my Internet time considerably over the weekend to give myself a break from how horrible everything (possibly including myself) is, but podcasts stop for no man, and one actually made me feel a little better. Terry Gross, who hosts a long-running interview program on NPR (kind of an American BBC), spoke with Charlie Sennott, a Boston-born reporter who’s been all over the world and covered military conflicts, wars and disasters of various kinds. Here are the things he said that actually made me start to breathe easier (emphasis mine):
“Patriots’ Day is a day in Boston that is the best day in Boston, when it seems like there’s almost always good weather and we have the Red Sox playing and the Marathon is such a great tradition, proud sense of history, the anniversaries of the battles in Concord and Lexington and you think, this is this pageant of just life, and a great city. And I think when we – when we saw these events unfold, I started to really ask myself why does it feel so different that these victims have a Boston accent?
This is different and I think it is different because suddenly you realize that every time you cover a bombing, it’s someone’s hometown. And I think this bombing has reminded me of that, that maybe we’ve covered so many bombings over so much time, in Belfast, in Pakistan, Oklahoma City, Jerusalem, Kabul, Madrid, London – maybe all of this somehow gets you at some point inured to the meaning of it for the people who have gone through it, and it’s a horrible shock to Boston. It’s a tough, resilient town, but it’s a reminder to me as a journalist from here that we’ve got to bring that same emotion, as much as we can, every time, everywhere in the world, because wherever a bombing happens, it’s someone’s hometown.“
We’ll see if I can get up to my regular shenanigans later this week. (Thankfully tomorrow’s post was planned ages ago.)