I am a child of Massachusetts. My high school weekends were spent roaming MIT, taking classes with their Educational Studies Program. My summer days were punctuated with afternoons running around the Boston Museum of Science as my friends and I escaped the summer heat. We’d walk from MIT to the Museum, sometimes taking the long way, walking all the way to Newbury Street so we could check out the comics at Newbury Comics. Sometimes we’d duck through Copley Square, watching the rich ladies with their little dogs looking ever so pleased with themselves as they sashayed past the kids who practiced skate board tricks off of benches and railings. I have walked from the Harbor – from the North End and its Italian District, all the way across Boston and Cambridge to my home in Sommerville, all because it was a nice day and my music player had a full battery. I walked because it was safe. I can see in my mind that place where Vasser meets Main at MIT. I can see that Lord & Taylors across from where the bombs exploded. These are the places where I grew up and became who I am, and I feel like a part of the scaffolding of my youth has all to literally been blown away.
It has been with great heart break that I’ve watched the horrors of the explosions and shooting that have rocked Boston.
And now, it is with a new kind of horror that I listen to news reports that fixate on these two college-age kids refugee status, and fixate on their Muslim religion, and fixate on the idea that maybe these kids, who by all accounts were just kids who played sports and did ok in school – maybe these kids are (were) radicalized Muslims who made homemade explosives because of some religious crusade. These are ideas without origins, and I want to scream at my radio, to scream at these sage pundits – to scream at them to stop assuming because these kids are brown haired and brown eyed and light olive skinned that they are terrorists with a religious motive.
Where are the parallels to Columbine? Where are the fears that this is what happens when potential high school / college shooters think a little bigger? Where is the worry that our society is so broken that maybe these two kids – described over and over as nice kids – maybe they simply decided to foolishly see what would happen if they planted a couple bombs and walked away?
If these two boys had been white – had been catholics whose families went to mass every Sunday – no one would be calling this a crusade. If these were kids described as nerds who played a lot of Dungeons and Dragons, wouldn’t everyone blame the role playing game while we waited to hear a real motive?
We know nothing. There is no letter of explanation. There is no manifesto explaining these murders.
We know nothing about their motives.
So why are people pulling the monsters out from under the bed a sleeping America has been dozing on, and presenting us with these imaginary monsters and calling it a possible reality. Yes, there sometimes is a rapist or murderer under the bed, and yes, these could have been radicalized muslim young men, but… there is no proof to think that.
These are (were) two brothers – one of them not even old enough to drink – who made bombs because they could – hasn’t blowing things up become the American way? I know plenty of farm kids who’ve blown up their fair share of gopher holes, and I remember seeing a friend’s uncle throw a grenade into a field one 4th of July. Driving through the midwest you can buy fireworks anywhere in the summer and drive into the sunset with terrifying articles of light and fire and that aren’t labeled for, but can bring, mass destruction.
We have easy access to death in this nation – easy access to guns and explosive making materials. Most people just choose to shot deer instead of one another, and to blow up varmints instead of crowds.
These are (were) two brothers who did something amazingly wrong. This should not have happened. This was an act of terror. I’m not sure what makes something terrorism, but I know these boys instilled fear.
But until someone finds evidence that this was politically motivated or driven by a false belief that these boys falsely labeled as Islamic (even though the Koran is a book of peace)… until we have that evidence … please stop using racial profiling to assign your terrorist motivations.
We may never know why this happened. That is hard to live with. But our society will be even harder to live in if in our ignorance we opt to believe in racially/theologically driven hate.
Columbine, Newtown, the Texas Sharp Shooter, the Virginia Tech massacre… so many different killers across so many years. … They each had their own broken reasons for lashing out in violence. They weren’t all American born. They weren’t all Christian. They were all broken.
This is a secular nation, comprised of people of all races and religions who are trying to find a way to celebrate our differences while we build a healthy society. Don’t let this one horrible moment in time fragment our nation. We can be better than this. We can be great.