Sunday, April 21, 2013

Random Acts of Violence—The New Normal?

I've cheered at many marathons as my husband, Keith, crossed the finish line. The culmination of hundreds of training hours, nutritional eating, and sacrificing other activities to take the challenge of pushing his body to an ultimate physical level. Crossing the finish line represents keeping an individualized commitment that would be so easy to break because of sore hip joints, early morning jaunts after parties that went past midnight, running through wind, rain, and snow (It's true!) and a wife that sometimes says, "Do you really have to do that eighteen mile run this Saturday? I was hoping we could take a walk in the park?" (Yes, I am guilty). Those runners who finish a marathon keep going through all this and when the race day finally arrives it's time for triumph and celebration.

Tragically, two individuals turned the great Boston Marathon into a horror show on April 15. We all know the details and I'm not reiterating any of them. What I want to focus on is the quote by Fred Rogers that has been showing up all over Facebook and other social media sites:

The truth of Fred Roger's mother's words rang out loud and clear following the explosion in the Back Bay area of Boston. I'm giving myself five minutes to think of as many as I can. Here goes:

First Responders — Those individuals who ran toward the victims instead of away from the explosion—Here's to the helpers!

Police—Quick, smart, brave, action only begins to describe your heroism. Here's to the helpers!

Medical Personnel—You saved hundreds of lives and never missed a beat. Here's to the helpers!

FBI & Other Investigators—You scrutinized thousands of photos and videos until you identified the perpetrators. Here's to the helpers!

Boston Citizens—You stayed strong and partnered with the police in the expeditious capture of the two men responsible for crippling so many lives. I was amazed as I watched your city come together to solve this crime. Here's to the helpers!

People—There is no doubt in my mind that the outpouring of love and prayers traveling to Boston from around the world contributed to the spirit and healing of those involved with this tragedy. Here's to the helpers!

My five minutes is up, but the list of helpers continues in my mind. It is evident that there is so much more good in the world than bad, and the good must continue to stand together. As New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo says, "It's a terrible situation in Boston. And, unfortunately, ... one gets the sense that this is more reflective of the 'new normal,' if you will," he explained. "So much of society is changing so rapidly. We talk about a 'new normal' when it comes to climate change and adjusting to a change in the weather patterns. 'New normal' when it comes to public security in a post-9/11 world. Where these random acts of violence, which at one time were implausible, now seem all-too-frequent."

Random acts of violence—the new normal? As hard as it is for me to admit it, I have to agree with Governor Cuomo. Outside of the Boston incident this week, I watched parents of the Sandy Hill victims in Washington D.C. lobby for background checks before gun purchases. On my way to work, I saw Albany, NY police barricade a street with yellow tape because of a shooting where one man was killed. I received an e-mail from our home owner's association that reported three home break-ins in my quiet, "safe" neighborhood. I clicked onto AOL News and saw that there was another shooting where two were killed at a Colorado rally on April 21.

What do we do about this "new normal" of increasing violence?

Be a helper!

Be patient and cooperative with security checks in public places. Compromise some of your privacy  as increased surveillance is implemented at shopping centers, college campuses, sporting events and on and on. Boston proved pictures and videos do work in capturing the bad guys. Like the Boston citizens, let's be part of the solution. Don't be paranoid, but be aware when stepping out into the world. If someone or something looks suspicious, report it. Better safe than sorry. If the helpers band together and prove, no one gets away with anything, the "new normal" may eventually turn into peace and security.

My thoughts and love to all the victims of the Boston Marathon tragedy. May the helpers in your life be there for you as you grieve and recover. 


  1. Very sensitively and well written, Peggy! This day shocked me as well as so many thousands in the world!! Thanks for posting this as a tribute to the helpers!! I did re-post it on Google and Twitter!