I hate this. Exactly four months ago today, I posted an entry dedicated to those that perished at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT. Yesterday, on the exact day that my youngest daughter turned 10 months old, yet another horrifically violent act of terror has taken place in our Nation. Whatever you want to call it - "The Boston Marathon Massacre," "The Boston Bombing," etc. - the traditional news media was quick to hit After Effects to whip-up some fancy graphics to pair with dramatic stock music to aid in feasting upon the carnage. As with any disaster, the "news" spread swiftly, filled with lies, speculation, and outright fabrication - our favorite social networks working overtime to keep delivering a heavy dose of garbage. And, like Sandy Hook, Twitter and Facebook users were quick to start sharing an image of a boy (and one of a girl) supposedly killed in Boston, easily inspiring the mindless masses to hit the "Retweet" and "Share" buttons without checking facts (or at least blatant details). As a wise man once said, "Who's the more foolish... the fool, or the fool who follows him?"
I didn't hear of the Boston incident until a few hours after it happened. Having a 3½-year-old and a 10-month-old in the house, it's been hard to quench my thirst for news - which in my pre-parenting days was fed by MSNBC and CNN playing in the background nearly all day (so much so that the MSNBC logo was burnt into my old TV) - so now I check on my phone to shield the girls from it as much as possible. With Addie at school today, I'm hoping that no one mentions anything about Boston, as I really don't want to have to start explaining "things" yet... things like "violence," "terrorism," "bad people," or "death." For those of you facing that head-on, the folks at PBS have a feature on the PBS Parents website about "Talking With Kids About News" - an article that unfortunately is also seeing a regular spike in traffic every few months. You've no doubt seen a quote that circulates in times like these from Fred Rogers, talking about teaching kids to "look for the helpers" in scary times. It goes beyond that, and Mister Rogers created a full special about Helping Children with Scary News. You can watch video and read more about it here. In Boston, the "helpers" were easy to find - if you've seen the video of the blasts, there seemed to be more helpers running toward the action than away from it. Those individuals were right there to tear down fences and barricades to give whatever aid they could to those in need.
As I hit the Keurig for my first coffee of the day and prepared to sit down to write this blog, the chatter on the television caught my attention. There it was, the same word that has irked me tremendously since September 11, 2001... "cowardly." In talking about Boston, someone called those responsible "cowardly" and my blood began to boil. Terrorists are not "cowardly," and I'm far from the only one that admits it. Bill Maher got completely screwed for pointing that out post-9/11 on his former ABC show, POLITICALLY INCORRECT. He was absolutely right, and nearly twelve years later, many have started to realize that. Back in 2007, Paul Krugman also tackled the "cowardly" debate in a post on the New York Times website, one that quoted a Slate Magazine column by Tim Noah that was posted on the very day that the World Trade Center fell. A post I will quote as well:
While what they do is wrong on every level, these "terrorists" have the passion and drive to take their "cause" to levels that most would never reach with anything. Just let that sink in. There's a lesson to be learned in there.
I fear that we've now officially entered a place - a point in reality - that our friends around the Globe have been living in for ages. A place where people will finally realize that no matter how great "security" might be, there will always be a chance for something like this to happen. Bombings happen all over the world on a daily basis. The days of thinking "not on American soil" are long gone. The police cannot stop it. The government cannot stop it. The "American Justice System" will not stop it. I don't fear for myself, but for my children.
What the world needs is an assortment of heroes with the investigative/detective skills of BATMAN, and the no-holds-barred approach of THE PUNISHER (someone that will go the extra step to "finish the job"). It's time, and perhaps a family member of one of the Boston victims will finally be the first (of hopefully many) to rise up and take matters into their own hands... not like those bullshit, so-called "real-life superheroes" that were popping up in spandex (and in the news) last year, but legit dispensers of true vigilante justice working outside "the law." Eventually, someone will have the same passion and drive that the terrorists do... but they'll have the resources and balls to throw fear back in the other direction. Terror for those who deserve to be terrorized, and real punishment and pain for all who do evil.
The years ahead are going to get really interesting. How to properly teach my girls to protect themselves and be ready to react to help others in a world of unpredictable events like those in Boston is something I don't have the answers for.
There's blue skies and mild temperatures today, so I think we'll go to the park and play for awhile.
About James: A work-from-home Dad with a pair of daughters (Released in 2009 and 2012) - James Zahn is THE ROCK FATHER™.
Bringing over two decades of experience in the entertainment industry into the family realm, Zahn is an Illinois-based Entertainment Writer, Media Personality and Commentator.
He serves as a PBS KIDS VIP (Very Involved Parent), has made guest appearances as a member of the Sprout Kindness Crew, was featured in the Father's Day issue of Lake County Magazine, and is a former contributor to Chicago Parent.
Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for the likes of FEAR FACTORY, DIRGE WITHIN, PRODUCT OF HATE, ARCANIUM and others, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands.
James and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Blogcritics, Fangoria, Starlog, The River Cities' Reader. Slowfish, Oil, and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360, and in 2013 he's been quoted on CNN, Babble, The Huffington Post, and The Good Men Project, in addition to making appearances on ABC News and WGN.
Learn more here.