I did something this morning that I'm not proud of. Like many people I was keeping track of the Boston Marathon and sat at my desk horrified as the stories and photographs and videos of the bombings updated in my news feed, completely heartsick and upset. This is why when I was on the train this morning I couldn't keep my mouth shut when two teenage girls standing next to me started talking about how they thought what had happened in Boston was funny. They laughed and joked about it loudly for several minutes, one of them saying "I mean only three people died..." and I just couldn't take it any more. I looked up from where I was sitting and said "It's not funny. It's horrible and tragic and I can't believe you would say something like that." They stopped talking for a few seconds and didn't make eye contact with me even though they were standing right next to me and then proceeded to talk about the MTV Movie Awards.
I realize that these girls were young but I don't feel like that excuses them for being insensitive. Where is the compassion? It's one thing to be apathetic but it's another to laugh about a terrible event. I was furious for the rest of my commute - furious with these girls and their glib remarks and conversation, furious with myself for losing my temper.
I kept thinking back at this morning's exchange periodically throughout the day until I got home. I threw on my running clothes and set out for a long run. As my body started to fatigue I could feel my anger subsiding and my thoughts went to the marathon runners and bystanders who headed straight into the carnage to help those that were injured. It's easy to get angry but to be compassionate is much more of a challenge. To be brave is even harder.
At some point in our lives I believe that we all can point to an incident where we first realized that the things that we say actually do matter and I hope that this was that moment for them. What happened in Boston feels far away and removed for them, I'm sure of this. But that is the problem. We are all connected, more so then anyone ever realizes.