At the tail end of a day-long email volley, in which my wife and I had been taking turns trying to one-down each other and see which of us was having the worse work day, that’s how I learned about Monday’s horrifying bombing tragedy at the Boston Marathon. “Wait. What?” I thought in boldface as I realized she’d just buried the lede.
I had no idea what she was talking about. I’d been so wrapped up in my own pedestrian issues that I was oblivious to anything happening outside my immediate environs. I commenced ignoring what I had been doing, checked CNN.com, felt my heart sink, and closed that browser tab after one jarring image too many. Once again some inscrutable lost soul or an entire defective collective has created a moment to weep for humanity as a whole.
As is normal for me, my mind set to multitasking against my will, dividing its efforts between the expected sorrowful impulse and the on-the-spot brainstorming of potential consequences, no matter how astoundingly unimportant they might be. One of the first thoughts to manifest in the latter category was, “I wonder if NBC will pull tonight’s Revolution off the schedule.” It seemed a no-brainer: perhaps tonight wouldn’t be the right night for America to kick back and enjoy an hour with good guys who are prone to the occasional heroic bombing.
Sure enough, I called it. For MCC fans expecting the usual Monday night recap, I can confirm this week’s episode was replaced by an impromptu NBC News special about Boston. Word from the rumor mill is that it’ll air next week in the usual time slot, thus bumping subsequent episodes back a week each. Since this would push the season finale into June, it’s possible NBC may make alternate arrangements for a double-header at some point to keep the finale on schedule. Updates as they occur.
Without Revolution to distract me, I’ve spent the evening puttering around and collecting items of varying relevance:
* CNN.com is updating moment by moment for on-the-scene developments.
* A friend of mine shared a link to a viral news site that was posting dozens of online photos aggregated from the aftermath and rescue efforts. I poked through a few without giving it much thought, but exited once I realized the line between informational curiosity and morbid voyeurism was beginning to blur. Sometimes it’s far too easy to cross such lines if I’m not minding my thoughts. Faces of Death fans can go do their own searches for such material.
* Comedian Patton Oswalt’s inspired response to the event and the actions of numerous upstanding altruists on the scene went viral. (Rated PG-13 for exactly one profanity.)
* For those who prefer G-rated punditry from previous centuries, several industrious ‘Net users have been forwarding and pinning a Fred Rogers quote that was Photoshopped into easy-share meme format in no time flat:
When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”
* For those in a questioning, plaintive mood, I recommend “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding?” for your maudlin, contemplative needs. The cover by Elvis Costello and the Attractions is the most well-known version, but the link is for Nick Lowe’s 1974 original.
As of this writing, we’re trapped in that torturous limbo between the unconscionable actions themselves and the Big Reveal of the guilty parties, presuming law enforcement wins at detective work. Right now we have no idea who’s responsible. No one knows what kind of message one could possibly hope to send, or what sinister agenda could be furthered, by murdering people who happened to like running a lot. The media has been hesitant to speculate on which demographic or minority we should begin blaming and hating unreasonably for this. The crackpot theories have been predictable and easy to ignore. The phrase “false flag” (read: “The government bombed its own citizens! Because of plans!”) is beginning to creep out of the conspiracy theory lexicon and into the discussion vernacular, though to me it’s a red flag signaling “ABANDON CONVO.” Likewise, if Westboro Baptist has made a public statement about what any of this means, I don’t want to know. At all.
It goes without saying that our prayers tonight are for the victims, those affected both directly and tangentially, and those charged with the tasks of discernment and justice in the matter. For consolation I close here with Psalm 34: 15-22 (NIV), with the hope that tomorrow will bring more informed answers and less amateur pontificating.
The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
and his ears are attentive to their cry;
but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil,
to blot out their name from the earth.
The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them;
he delivers them from all their troubles.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
The righteous person may have many troubles,
but the Lord delivers him from them all;
he protects all his bones,
not one of them will be broken.
Evil will slay the wicked;
the foes of the righteous will be condemned.
The Lord will rescue his servants;
no one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.