Thursday, April 18, 2013

Go out into the world.

There's not anything I can contribute to the responses to the tragedy at the Boston Marathon that has not already been said, better or worse, than anyone else. It's just horrible.

I will admit I was thinking recently, what's next? I mean, this week, I was wondering when the next event would occur. There have been so many, for so long. But this is not some kind of "new normal". These things have always happened.

Running on Tuesday morning, the morning after, heading down Taylor, listening to Let The Sunshine In, I was reminded that on April 25, 1971 -- 42 years ago next week -- someone threw an incendiary device at the entrance to the Hanna Theatre, which may or may not have had something to do with the production of Hair which was currently playing.

The year before that, someone (neither of these crimes were ever solved) blew up Rodin's The Thinker outside the Cleveland Museum of Art. These things have happened before. They will happen again. I realize the difference in these examples, of course, is that those targets were things, and not people. But they were hardly the only planned acts of violence of their era.

When an attack like this is perpetrated, the specifics of where it happens can be relevant, or not. The midnight showing of a violent superhero movie is a symbolic place to kill and maim a lot of people, or not. It is definitely a place to find a lot of people. Like a tall building. Like a school.

The assault at a sporting event, at the finish line of a race, makes it very visible, and deadly. Because it was a running race, however, and a marathon, makes it personal to me. There were those who asked if I were all right -- me, in particular, they wanted to know on the off chance I was there, or if I knew people who were, was I all right? I didn't even know how to respond to these queries. I couldn't. Yes, I'm fine, thank you. People think of me as one who runs marathons ... so, they asked me, I guess.

Following Hurricane Sandy, and the cancellation of the New York Marathon, I have had a plan to apply for those (presumably) few spaces available when the lottery opens later this month. First of all, I would like to run the NY Marathon again, but after the cancellation last November, this year's should be a uniquely amazing celebration.

But that was a natural disaster, not a terrorist attack. The desire to run the Boston Marathon has already been expressed by others I know, and I share it. I never considered Boston, never thought I might qualify. Then again, I never thought I could run a marathon at all, ever.

The reasoning is different, however. I was a toddler when people were chucking bombs to "protest" something or other. An anonymous, public act of terror is inflicted not to make a statement, but to make people afraid. Fear is the greatest device against freedom. Fear makes people flee the city, look sideways at those who look different, deny rights, carry weapons. Fear makes people hide, speak bitterly of others, and close off.

We will not fear. We live to go outside, into crowds, to be with others, unarmed, and unafraid. Because that is what live free or die actually means.

Temperature: 64°
Climate: balmy
Distance: 5.15 miles

1998 Playlist
Closing Time - Semisonic
Spybreak! - Propellerheads
Super Disco Breakin' - Beastie Boys
Sexy Boy - AIR
MMMBop - Hanson
One Week - Barenaked Ladies
Chair - Sister Soleil
Jump Jive An' Wail - Brian Setzer Orchestra
Metal Firecracker - Lucinda Williams
Sea of Heartbreak - Johnny Cash
Millennium - Robbie Williams

1 comment:

beedie said...


I love you so.