In the newsroom, we always emphasize the importance of making human connections in every piece -- that's how we bring faraway stories home. But with the Marathon bombings we all became a part of the story.
It reminded me of the Nov. 26, 2008 terrorist attacks that happened in Mumbai, India. It reminded me of 9/11 in New York. Was this happening right here in my city? It took me a long time to come to terms with it.
Bostonians were not cowering in their homes, fearful of what's outside, unwilling to confront reality. I know Boston. We are not a fearful people. What happened on Friday was an expression of a culture's respect for justice and the show of force that is sometimes needed to find it.
I saw them walking down the street -- men in green camouflage and boots carrying guns. When my doorbell rang, I answered it quickly and reassured the man that we were fine and hadn't seen anything suspicious.
In a crisis, how do we keep individuals from publicly sharing sensitive information which can endanger lives within minutes? Verification of facts is of utmost importance, but is it immediately possible given the scope and instantaneous nature of the internet?
It's this ability to stay connected, to stand by each other, that has kept the people of Boston strong during one of the worst weeks in the city's storied history. But they're not the only ones who have the ability to shore up resilience. You do. I do.
I take for granted how wonderful it is to live in a country where, on the average day, I do not fear for my life. I know not all Americans have that luxury. But ever since 9/11 and the upswing in mass shootings, I've been uneasy. This week has been a wakeup call that we are never truly safe.
As the hostage negotiation continued and we sat down to dinner, I prayed that we'd come out of lockdown a safer, more caring community. I loaded the plates and raised a glass, with the hope that my fellow citizens will find the strength to heal.
We don't want the Boston Marathon bombers to be us. We don't claim them. They can't be Americans. As soon as suspects were identified, we rejected these young men. Even some of their family did. We blame them because of our fear.
Our responses may not make intellectual sense tomorrow, or whenever this calms down (hopefully with no or minimal additional violence), when we can look back at things in the cool calm of rational hindsight, but they make emotional sense now. Because we are afraid.
"Mommy," he said, "I accidentally turned on the news. I saw the guy." He paused for a minute before continuing. "Mommy, he looked like he was a teenager. That's a kid, isn't it? Why would a kid do this?"