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Hoping for change in wake of Boston bombings


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Claire Fahy
Editor-in-chief

BOSTON — It all plays out on CNN like an extremely well-written episode of “Criminal Minds.” As I sit here in Boston Logan Airport — returning home from an aborted college visit — I’m in the thick of the drama stemming from the Boston Marathon bombings, in which law enforcement officials are tracking a suspect through the outer suburbs.

However, I feel so far removed from the dramatic events that the ever-present fear in the faces of security is one of the sole reminders that this is real.

I appreciate that in my life I have never known real fear, but even fear in its weakest form is a powerful weapon. This is especially true in America, where each fearful event is compounded by the next. The Boston bombings and ensuing manhunt only heighten and sharpen the fear I have stemming from last summer’s Colorado movie massacre and this winter’s Newtown shootings.

Last night as I walked Boston’s empty streets with my dad, every young, thin, white man with a baseball cap set my heart beating uncomfortably fast. While I sat in a sparsely-populated movie theater, every sneeze or stretch by my fellow moviegoers made me so uncomfortable that I considered asking my dad to leave. On the T, Boston’s subway system, I caught my breath with every passenger who boarded toting a backpack.

And while there is a great move to deny fear, seeing as it is the emotion the terrorists wanted to instill, Boston truly has been united by this horror. As I walked through the Boston Commons this morning after the lockdown was lifted, a homeless man looked up from his cigarette and told me to “stay safe.”

What bothers me most of all is the person causing all this fear — the terrorist currently responsible for four deaths and almost 200 injuries — is reportedly my age. I want to hate him, yet I find myself hoping he is caught alive, not only so that our country receives the answers it needs, but also to spare such a young life.

From the moment I saw a blurry image at five last night when it was released by the FBI, along with footage of the suspect and his brother en route to plant their bombs, I knew I could never hate him. He is just a boy. He has classmates, siblings, parents. All of whom can’t believe he could ever do this.

I’m not saying he should be forgiven. What he has done is unforgivable, made worse by the fact he continues to act violently and will not turn himself in. But I cannot bring myself to wish death upon someone my own age, described as intelligent and promising by family and friends.

What I do find myself wishing is that America can somehow find a solution to the seemingly never-ending violence. The cruelty and terrorism that 8-year-old bombing victim Martin Richard is shown so poignantly protesting with his handmade sign needs to end.

With new gun control measures effectively shut down by Congress this week, I hope this country can turn its focus to mental health in a united and bipartisan way. I know that there are no motives as of yet to explain the actions of the accused Tsarnaev brothers, but I find it hard to believe that two sane men would blow up a crowd of families and young people.

I can’t turn on CNN again and see another James Holmes or Adam Lanza. These people may be attacking us, but we are failing these people. Somehow, we have to figure out a way to prevent such violence in our country. I only hope it can happen before more innocent lives are lost.

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One Response to “Hoping for change in wake of Boston bombings”

  1. Beatrice Motamedi on April 24th, 2013 8:12 am

    Claire, this is a beautifully written and heartfelt response to the Boston bombings. I think it took enormous courage for you to write that “what bothers me most of all is the person causing all this fear — the terrorist currently responsible for four deaths and almost 200 injuries — is reportedly my age. I want to hate him, yet I find myself hoping he is caught alive, not only so that our country receives the answers it needs, but also to spare such a young life.” That paragraph is one I think many of us are thinking but you said it and I think that adds valuably to the national conversation. I also value the way that you stayed in the moment as a reporter — hearing what the homeless man had to say to you in Boston Commons, noting your own reactions to ordinary events. You have the habit of mind of a real reporter! Please keep writing on this important issue.

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Hoping for change in wake of Boston bombings