Patton Oswalt’s inspirational Facebook message got me through last night, and I have a feeling that it will get me through today as well. So while there’s a good chance you’ve already seen it and read it and shared it, remember that it’s okay to read it again if you need to today. It’s okay to be angry and it’s okay to be sad and it’s okay to look for a silver lining in what’s going to be a very difficult time for our country.
Like many of you, I heard the news and spent the rest of my day glued to the TV searching for answers. We still have none. Instead we have heartbreaking stories coming in from the victims and their families. Stories about an 8-year-old boy who came to see his father run, stories about brothers who both lost a leg, stories about people who got hurt for absolutely no good reason. Like so many other people I ended my day thinking that humanity just sucks. How did we end up living in a world where people plant bombs in large crowds of people? What is wrong with us and how do we fix it? I’m a writer, but there’s no real eloquent way for me to sum up my feelings on this tragedy right now.
So rather than trying to say something that I’m unable to say, I’ll share with you what Patton Oswalt so poetically wrote yesterday in response to the tragedy.
“Boston. Fucking horrible.
I remember, when 9/11 went down, my reaction was, “Well, I’ve had it with humanity.”
But I was wrong. I don’t know what’s going to be revealed to be behind all of this mayhem. One human insect or a poisonous mass of broken sociopaths.
But here’s what I DO know. If it’s one person or a HUNDRED people, that number is not even a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a percent of the population on this planet. You watch the videos of the carnage and there are people running TOWARDS the destruction to help out. (Thanks FAKE Gallery founder and owner Paul Kozlowski for pointing this out to me). This is a giant planet and we’re lucky to live on it but there are prices and penalties incurred for the daily miracle of existence. One of them is, every once in awhile, the wiring of a tiny sliver of the species gets snarled and they’re pointed towards darkness.
But the vast majority stands against that darkness and, like white blood cells attacking a virus, they dilute and weaken and eventually wash away the evil doers and, more importantly, the damage they wreak. This is beyond religion or creed or nation. We would not be here if humanity were inherently evil. We’d have eaten ourselves alive long ago.
So when you spot violence, or bigotry, or intolerance or fear or just garden-variety misogyny, hatred or ignorance, just look it in the eye and think, “The good outnumber you, and we always will.”
It’s a good reminder that we’re not all bad and we’re not all evil, and that in fact more of us are good. Like Mr. Rogers once famously said, ”When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” Let’s all be helpers today. Let’s all do what we can to make the world a better place. Our prayers go out to Boston and to everyone affected by this tragedy.