It's hard to believe only a week has gone by since that first bomb blast in Boston, where a beautiful day, a historic event, a time of family, friends and celebration was torn apart by tragedy. Fast forward a week later: One of the alleged bombers is dead and one is in custody, all before the funerals have taken place.
Has it only been a week? Time is such a strange dimension. Last Monday, it seemed to slow down and take forever. Those same shots, shown over and over through those first, incredulous hours, producing a singular need to know why someone would do such a thing.
Time seemed to speed up after the pictures of the alleged bombers went out. It went into overdrive toward the end of the week, with the murder of Officer Collier at MIT, the reported carjacking of the SUV, the gun battle in Watertown, the death of one of the alleged bombers, the manhunt and capture of the other. Every time I turned on the TV or went online, there was more information. At first, all I wanted was information, and there didn't seem to be any. Now, the information is a flood -- from a drought to a flood, all within such a short span of time. From a single question of "why" to the latest MSN header: "7 biggest unanswered questions in Boston."
If time is a strange dimension in tragedy, then so is truth. Truth, like time, from the outset of the bombing, seemed to move like molasses. That glacial pace, however, didn't stop the reporting. In lieu of actual facts to fill in the video and virtual void, speculation ran rampant. A part of me wants to accuse the news outlets for shoddy reporting, for not checking their sources or facts, for rushing to judgment and putting out information before it was fully vetted. A part of me wants to blame them but, if I'm honest, I have to blame myself.
I'm to blame, because I was one of those who couldn't turn off the news. I'm to blame, because I was one of those who passed along whatever I'd seen or heard to others as we processed the shock of the event. I'm to blame, because, as I look back a week ago, I have to admit I wanted information -- any information -- to try to make sense out of the tragedy. A part of me kept cautioning myself not to take everything I heard for truth, being jaded from past tragedies. But a part of me was just so uncomfortable with the nothingness of waiting for the truth to develop, I needed those tidbits, that flotsam and jetsam of speculation, to keep me occupied, to keep my mind busy, to give my outrage some place to attach.
Last Monday, time seemed to slow down because truth was slow in coming. Now, the dam has burst, and I'm inundated with information. Lest that give me any real comfort, with the expansion of the information has come a flood of more questions. I know what I did when time and truth moved slowly last Monday; what am I going to do now that both have picked up speed?
One thing I'm not going to do is jump to any more conclusions. I did enough of that a week ago. Instead, I'm going to hold on to my discomfort, my not knowing, my being out of the loop, longer. I'm going to allow the information to develop, to be vetted and verified and checked, before I accept it as the truth. I'm going to restrain myself from passing along the latest nugget of speculation and, hopefully, slow down way the rush to judgment. I'm going to respect truth enough to give it the time it needs. The victims deserve that. The wounded deserve that. The truth deserves that.
For more by Dr. Gregory Jantz, Ph.D., click here.
For more on mental health, click here.
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