People are crazy, but you don’t have to be an asshole about it

ImageI really think my title says it all, but let me explain.

First – the Boston marathon bombing was horrific.  Straight up, no questions asked, completely horrific. 

Second – the escape attempts (thus far) for the two bombers (alleged bombers? Maybe not so much at this point) have also been horrific.

 The number of people terrorized, frightened, seriously injured, killed, or otherwise impacted is horrific, too.

Do you see the point I’m making here?  It’s all horrific.  And the bombers are crazy, obviously, because no sane person could do this while maintaining their sanity.  Even if they began sane, they lost is somewhere along the line.  (And while there’s an argument to be made here about sanity versus insanity and whether or not violent acts cause it or are the cause of it…well, that’s for another time.)

Because once I’ve made sure you understand that this whole thing is horrific, we get to the fact that some people are just assholes when things like this happen and the news comes out.

Yes, the bombers are immigrants.  They are brothers.  One received a scholarship from the City of Cambridge. 

But…and here’s a big but…you can’t just turn around and say, “Those bastards needed to have gone home instead of taking all this from us and then attacking us.”  Because then you’ve started to move beyond just the two brothers.  You’ve moved into more.  Because, while I’m paraphrased this from a Facebook posting I saw on someone’s page – someone I used to think was intelligent and well-educated and tolerant of humanity – the immediate response from this person’s friend was that, yeah, people like that do it in other countries, too, and we need to get rid of these immigrants.

This making of an “other” has been a favorite topic of mine for a long time, and this is what we’ve doing.  Forget that they have gone to school here.  Forget that they have family here who are horrified at what was done and that have said that, could they speak to the boy, would tell him to give himself up.

We need to somehow remove this “other” from our society, and so we say that all immigrants who get free things have no right to be crazy and attack us.   We call them terrorists, and I’m not arguing that, but there was talk of them being “homegrown terrorists” (i.e. Americans by birth).  Why make the distinction?  Why bring it up at all?  If someone is crazy and kills someone, their immigrant status should not matter, unless it’s a question of deportation.  Otherwise, if they are living here, and if they are being educated here, and if they are part of our society, they are part of us.  They are not other. 

I just fear that this is going to turn into another witch hunt, where anyone who is not American by birth is going to be viewed with suspicion and hatred.  We have enough of that.  We need to understand that just because two immigrants did something bad, there are millions more that have not and never will.

Because, as the Ghandi quote as is currently circulating goes – “You must not lose faith in humanity.  Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.”

Let’s try to remember that we are that ocean.  Don’t assume that all of it is dirty just because of a few specks of dirt.  (And it’s also worth taking the metaphor even further to point out that there will always be dirt in the ocean; it’s best to build up an immunity and work to clean it than to just wipe it out and suffer the consequences of a wide-sweeping action that we don’t understand the full import of…)

One thought on “People are crazy, but you don’t have to be an asshole about it

  1. I’m from the Boston area. I have family and friends who live and work in Boston. I think you have made a beautiful point and said it so well. Thank you. My heart breaks for all the families involved in this terrible situation. My heart breaks for all of us actually. The bottom line to me is when an individual/individuals take it upon themselves to act in this way we can not blame anyone but those that made that choice. It is very sad and I believe, hard to “defend” against. We must believe in humanity overall.

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