Two thought on Boston

Don’t worry, I have no intention of commenting on the actual events of yesterday’s Boston Marathon. I know nothing you don’t know, and I’m just as horrified as you are. I generally tend to avoid following events like these that closely as they fuck with my head. I can’t sleep for days and I just feel sickened after every shooting, every bombing, and every mass killing, so I have to not be on twitter and not watch the news. Yesterday, however, I couldn’t look away. A part of me thinks that may be because I’m starting to do these big group events, races and the like, and the thought that…never mind. I’m getting off my point.

Instead, I’ve had two thoughts surrounding the tragedy at the marathon.

Thought #1

The first is social media. I found out about the incident because I happened to check twitter the very instant tweets started pouring in. In that aspect, social media is a beautiful thing. Before any news outlet could even think about starting to air coverage or break the story, thousands of people already knew and had already seen pictures. Hundreds of thousands of people. Everywhere. To Browncoat it- You can’t stop the signal.

What I did see that bugged me, however, was people demanding a certain behavior out of others. There was a lot of hate and anger piled on people who had scheduled tweets, or people who hadn’t seen the news, or people who chose not to comment on what had happened. I can’t tell if the issue here is the internet anger machine looking for something to grab on to, or if it’s merely an issue of projection and misplaced expectations.

Here’s how I see it: you can not expect people to be affected by events exactly as you are. You can not expect people to respond in the same way you do, feel the same things, or conform to your sudden ideals of behavior for a certain event. Nobody is under any obligation to sit around and tweet about how horrified they are. Life continues and if focusing on that is what it takes for some people to cope, so be it.

This isn’t an issue of people making jokes or being crass; I saw none of that myself. There was no truther bullshit in my feed and no conspiracies. There was a lot of shock and grief, some scheduled tweets from Penn Jillette, and a lot of tweets from Nathon Fillion just about everyday things. But many, many people were upset that some people didn’t stop tweeting or didn’t express what they felt to be the appropriate shock and horror at what had happened.

In my opinion, in a platform like Twitter, there is no Right Way to use it. Anyone you follow, you follow by choice. You don’t like someone who tweets a certain way? Don’t follow them. I can’t see much value in telling them I dislike it because I control my content, I control what I see in my stream. With the outrage yesterday at users, however, it felt like there was a lot of Bad Wrong Tweeting comments being made and I don’t feel like that’s the case. These people weren’t being vile or rude or inconsiderate, they just weren’t responding the way other people wanted them to respond. That doesn’t make them wrong, it makes those expectations wrong.

You don’t get to dictate what people say and to me, if they’re not being malicious or cruel, let them be. Your world may have stopped for a while yesterday, but that doesn’t mean everybody’s did.

Enough on that.

Thought #2

My husband said I’m weird for feeling this way, but the only thing I can think to do with what happened is to run a marathon. I want to train with the hopes of flying to Boston next year, and run the Boston Marathon. I can’t help the victims. I can’t help the city. But what I can do is show up next year as a big Fuck You to whoever did this, and anyone who might think like them.

Running the marathon, to me, would say “I’m not scared”. It would say, “You hurt us but you can’t stop us”. We can’t change the tragedy but we can come back from it, stronger than ever. It’s not much, and I know it won’t have that great of an impact but to me, it’s the best middle finger I can give. I guess I’d better get to running.

And Lastly

This was in my head all day yesterday. I can’t think Boston without thinking Dropkick Murphys; man, they love their town.


13 thoughts on “Two thought on Boston

    1. Thank you, Babe. 🙂 I know you and the fish support me and it means a lot. Maybe someday I’ll be crazy enough to run a marathon and you guys can meet me at the end.

  1. #1 I like that you do these every day, I don’t read them every day, or at least not always on the day they’re posted, because my life is crazy right now, but I respect that you stick to it.

    #2 To get into the Boston marathon you need to have completed a marathon in the past year and a half beforehand with a certain time (based on your age/gender it’d be 3:35 for you). Still possible to do before the Boston Marathon signups, but something to be aware of.

    #3 I’ve toyed with the idea of training for a marathon in the past. Good luck with your quest!

    1. Good info to have, thanks Fattig! Maybe we’ll have to smoke all the BBC runners this year. 😉
      And thanks for reading, period. It helps to keep writing them to know people are reading.

      1. Hey look at that! I’ll try to hit the trail tomorrow and see if I can still do a 10K. I’ve been doing Tough Mudder training so I haven’t been just running but damn, that’d be fun if I can pull it off. I’ll let you know!

  2. Thanks for the thoughts on Boston. Another note on the marathon, you can get slots to run if you raise money for a charity. Perhaps we need to get a bunch of like minded bloggers and net denizens to raise the money for charity slots, with proceeds going to victims?

  3. I’m kinda on the same wavelength as you here. I wanna train for a marathon too. Don’t know how easy it’ll be to get into Boston, but I wanna do one somewhere. There’s one here in Des Moines, but I’m unsure if I’ll be ready in time. There is no shortage of marathons, and runners are known for being stubborn. They just keep on fucking running. I like the idea of being counted among one of them.

  4. Thank you so much for this post! I’ve seen lots of tweets calling people names for scheduling tweets or tweeting about something other than the tragedy, and it really rubbed me the wrong way…

    1. I’m glad you liked it. I was really hesitant writing anything about it this close to what happened, but I felt the same way. Name calling didn’t help anyone yesterday but man, that internet hate machine just kept plugging along.

  5. The strange thing is I saw anger from the exact opposite direction on Facebook. With several people, and one in particular being oddly passive aggressive about it, insistent that no one talk about what was happening and that everything would be perfectly fine if we didn’t react at all. I don’t think that should be confused with needing to keep your distance which I can totally understand, what I was seeing was active and stubborn denial. My Facebook feed read like a drawn out version of “Nothing to see here. Everything’s fine! LOOK AT THE GOD DAMN KITTENS!” With the passive aggressive denier being as crass as to preface everything he posted yesterday with “Meanwhile…”

    So in a round about way I guess I’m saying I’m annoyed by the exact same thing you are, though I saw it from another direction in my case. People need to stop telling others how to react to these things.

    1. Thank you! Maybe I’ll do a few posts on my Tough Mudder training if you’re interested, it’s what I’ve been doing instead of distance running recently.

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