Yesterday I learned about the horrific events at the Boston Marathon shortly after I left work.
I took my still new walking route to the Market East Station, thinking about how chilly it was for mid-April. I waited on the platform for the 5:10 train and pulled out my phone for my post-work checking of text messages, emails, etc.
The very first message I saw was a SMS alert from The Pottstown Mercury reporting explosions near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.
I gasped and immediately tried to look up further information (on the train I noticed that anyone who had their phone out was doing the same thing). I read the reports of casualties and grave injuries. I saw the pictures of first responders carrying the injured. I tried to understand the timetable of events as various new reports came in.
As I stood on the platform surrounded by fellow commuters going about their daily routine, I struggled to hold back tears. I thought about the victims and their families and what they must be going through. I thought about what kind of person could possibly have committed such a crime against humanity. And I thought about my brother.
My twin brother is a semi-pro runner and track coach. While he does not run marathons, he has run several races in Boston, he worked for the organization that was in charge of the New York Marathon, and all of his friends are runners. And as hard as I try, I can't help thinking how he could just as easily have been there as any of the victims.
But today I realized that by letting myself think that way, I am doing exactly what that faceless monster who made those bombs wanted... I am giving in to fear.
This past year in the US we have seen more cruelly ironic and horrific acts then ever before. We now live in a society where children are targeted in the place they go to learn and grow; where people who go to see a movie about a man wanting to protect the innocent, are faced with a real-life bad guy from hell; and where individuals and their families who put an emphasis on movement and activity in their lives, lose their limbs.
In a society such as this, it is easy and instinctual to give in to fear; fear of living our lives as we would without school shootings and terrorist attacks. But by doing that, we only perpetuate the terror and panic that these sick bastards are trying to spread.
Horrible things happen. More so than before it seems. But I refuse to let the fear of something horrific happening to a loved one or me affect how I live my life. So, tomorrow I will ride the train in to Philadelphia and go to work without fear that a gunman will appear or a bomb will go off, I will enjoy Spring, I will #runforBoston... and I will say a prayer for the victims and their families and tell my family I love them.
I refuse to let evil people in this world determine how I live my life.
So, please, if this event changes how you live or think about your life, let it be modeled after the runners who worked towards a positive goal in their lives, and their families who cheered them on. Let that be the kind of society we live in.