The Boston Marathon bombing is a shocking tragedy, devastating an event that celebrates the perseverance of human beings. And it saddens us all.
The senseless loss of life and injury to so many is difficult for most of us to comprehend. And beyond the expected reactions of anger and fear, what’s worse is the growing sense of resignation — accepting that these kinds of incidents are now status quo. But there are many reasons to find hope in this tragedy, and as the crisis dominated activity on social media, many of them I gleaned from Twitter.
As update after update streamed yesterday afternoon, the tweets transitioned from incident and victim updates to offers of kindness from the community. Information on how to track loved ones, contact numbers for emotional support and words of sympathy and support started to exceed the tweets about the damage and loss.
My faith in humanity and the resilience of community was reassured when I saw the tweet about an instant homestay registry set up by Bostonians to house people who were not be able to leave Boston as planned. Within two hours of the blast, Boston community members had the foresight and selflessness to open their homes to care for visitors. Instead of retreating in fear, they welcomed strangers into their homes. That’s what kind, compassionate people do. And that’s what makes up a great community.
There have been many comments made about the immediate actions of “regular people” through this incident. Things like, “If you wonder if the world is still a good place, just watch the footage of people reacting to the bomb blast.” While victims fell to the ground, either injured or trying to prevent injury, bystanders ran toward the blast, not away from it. People ran into harm’s way to help their neighbours, their fellow humans.
As troubling as the world is, with the overload of news giving us unlimited reasons to despair about the human condition, we need to stop and appreciate the goodness that was on display yesterday. And beyond that, we need to stop and appreciate the goodness that exists in all of our communities. It’s often overshadowed by the lurid appeal of bad news — “if it bleeds, it leads” — but the goodness in our communities far outweighs the bad. We just need to stop, look and appreciate it and each other.
Goodness and the values of community are not gone — they just need better coverage.
~ Maureen Douglas, CPF-IAF. Mo writes, consults and speaks about the power of positive public, workplace and team engagement. Click here for Mo’s FREE e-Guide to Better Public Engagement. Follow her on Twitter.