Evil, Good, And The Boston Bombing

I realize that I’m about to anger a lot of people right now, but I saw a few things about the Boston bombing last night on social media that were upsetting, not just to me, but to others as well.

And these are just my opinions. They don’t reflect anyone else’s, nor my company’s opinions.

Also, I must note, anybody is allowed to say whatever they want. Freedom of speech is important. However, just because you can say something does not mean you should, especially not in the immediate wake of a horrific event. Why not wait a day or two?

People were saying these things long before the death toll was known and long before others could find out if their loved ones were still alive, with intact limbs. They could have waited 24 hours for families to be notified of death and maimings.

Why not wait a day or two? Think it over from the victims’ point of view, and then if you still think it’s important enough to post, and unlikely to hurt someone, post it then.

1. It is totally inappropriate to immediately use the bombing to make snide remarks about guns, whether you are pro-gun or anti-gun or in between and ambivalent.

In the immediate wake of a massive epidemic of ebola that killed three people, you wouldn’t be posting things about how “Well this goes to show that measles is/is not totally harmless,” would you? (It isn’t, by the way. Measles can and does kill and maim people on a fairly regular basis. But that’s beside the point.)

2. It is totally inappropriate to immediately be claiming these people were actors, or that the government did it, or any other conspiracy theory about the bombing.

The plain fact is, at this time no reputable information has been released about who did it, and much of the other conspiracy talk is actually garbage, easily debunked for those who take 10 seconds to check Snopes.com.

I do think it is particularly awful to accuse actual victims of being actors. I talked to several people who were either there themselves or had relatives there yesterday. They’re real people and they were really frightened. And real people have lost their lives or their limbs to this bombing.

3. People were also posting graphic images on Facebook, of blood-strewn streets. That’s fine with me, but it’s not fine with everybody–there are some very squeamish people out there, and again, this was long before everyone knew their relatives were safe. And the phones were shut down for a long time too, so they couldn’t necessarily check.

How would you like to be looking at a photo of a bloody street and wondering if that blood or limb is your daughter’s or husband’s? It doesn’t sound too appealing, does it?

All that said, there’s a nice Mr. Rogers meme going around Facebook right now about how whenever something terrible happens, people try to help, and that you will always find helpers. I’ve seen a few stories about the helpers already, and will be collecting them here.

Boston Marathon explosions attract an outpouring of help from city’s residents

Overwhelming kindness follows Boston Marathon blast

The good outnumber you

How A Decade Of Disasters Helped Boston Hospitals Handle The Marathon Bombings

IRS extends tax deadline for Boston bombing victims

Canadian runners lace up to show support for victims of Boston Marathon bombings

Athletes Going the Extra Mile to Support Boston Marathon Bombing Victims

How to help after Boston Marathon bombing: Relief funds spring up

2 Responses

  1. bill

    Have you noticed that the more news coverage a crime like this gets the shorter the time is between this and another event like it. We all need to know the news but to hear it for 24 hours on tv with pictures and opinions is why someone else does a crime like this. they want that publicity and to be famous too. The news has even given website that show how to make these things, or at lest state that they can find out how on the internet. We all know this but those sites are very busy when in the news. I am not a writter or a speller so please forgive the mistakes.

    1. Yet there’s not really much media can do about it. There’s no way we can simply *not* tell people what’s going on, especially not when people are worried about their friends and loved ones in the area of a bomb or disaster.

      The only way coverage of events like this would stop is if people stopped reading coverage of events like this. Websites track which stories get views, and those are the stories that are given prominence. To some extent, the media serves its readers/viewers.

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