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16 April 2013 @ 11:53 pm
I had planned to write about Margaret Thatcher …  
Yesterday I made my friend Suzanne promise to cheer for Kurt Fearnley at the Boston Marathon. Kurt is one of my fave athletes and I usually only get to see him at the Paralympics and Sydney Marathon, so whenever possible I send my friends out to shout inappropriate things at him (he's a bit of all right). I recognise that other people show more respect, but my peer group is more fun.

She was going to be at Mile 25, she told me. I went to bed and woke up early (for me) to check the results. I swtiched on the news at the same time as opening my iPad, and felt a sick horror as the news emerged, relieved only by the knowledge that Suzanne was some distance away, and Kurt would have finished well before, because the rollers are faster than the runners.

Social media once again showed that its true strength is in times of crisis. Suzanne and Kurt had both tweeted that they were fine. Most of my other Boston friends checked in on Twitter or LJ. The only one who hasn't is unlikely to have been there. This many miles away there was nothing I could do except send a few tweets of support and make the traditional donation to the American Red Cross.

Other people used Twitter to better effect. Emma, whose surname I missed, is an Aboriginal runner from somewhere out in the middle of the Northern Territory. She was taken over as part of the Indigenous Running Project last year to run the New York Marathon, and thwarted by Hurricane Sandy. So this year, she made it through injury to be ready for the Boston. But with about 10 minutes left in her race, she found herself caught up in a wave of hurried  redirection as the racers were sent away from the end where their friends and their belongings were waiting.

News was piecey and frightening. At what had been the end of the race, her team were being evacuated and frantically trying to track down a young woman whose experience of big American cities mostly consisted of hotels and airports.

But Americans are mostly awesome. Other runners asked Emma where she was from and what they could do for her. They introduced themselves and stayed with her. Race organisers started trying to find her team, locals offered to help her get back to her hotel. Those who had phones put the word out on Twitter and reunited her with her team via social media.

Meanwhile, Suzanne tweeted that while she was shattered, she was also inspired by those emergency workers, military, medical and first aid people who had just run a marathon turn around and run back towards the wounded. She was off to donate blood, because it was something positive that she could do, and she is awesome, too.

Some of the media was dreadful, and some was good. The stories of Bill Iffrig, the 78-year-old runner who fell to the ground near the first explosion and then got up to finish struck a wonderful balance of humanity without schmaltz. His 'stuff em whoever they are' attitude was the only rational response.

And then Carlos Arrondodo, who spends most of his life promoting peace around the country, ran into clouds of smoke and blood and found himself forming makeshift tourniquets for some of the worst injured, and keeping them conscious until the paramedics could take them to hospital.

Most heartening, there was an awful lot of that attitude that some famous thriller author – I think it was Tom Clancy – brought to the CNN coverage after the 9/11 attacks, where he was the voice saying 'Hang on, remember that when things like this happen in America, it's usually because of domestic terrorism.' That attitude is so important, because whoever ends up being responsible, it's vital to remember that terrorism does not come from one ethnicity, it comes from one mindset: the mindset of hatred, and the more we do to divorce ourselves from that way of thinking, the better the world is.

I just don't have any words for the fact that parents from Sandy Hook were at the finish line. The only consolation is the knowledge that everyone around them will be holding them tight.

And because it has been such a grim day,
here is a video of a busy Melbourne tunnel that was closed off so workers could rescue a kitten. In a world where big burly men rescue kittens, there is always hope for a better tomorrow.
ecosopherecosopher on April 16th, 2013 02:07 pm (UTC)
That kitten video does the trick.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on April 16th, 2013 02:14 pm (UTC)
Some days, kitten videos and actual cats are all that stand between me and testing the limits of my mascara's toughness.
Dragonfly_lilydragonfly_lily on April 16th, 2013 02:15 pm (UTC)
As an American, I think its important to remember that there is domestic terrorism. Many people I know are quick to blame outside sources, and yesterday was no exception. We need to remember that it's not always the fault of someone else.
fragrantwoodsfragrantwoods on April 16th, 2013 02:34 pm (UTC)
You are so awesome for posting the resilient bits of the tragedy here. Plus kittens. There's so much more good than bad, but the bad is so much more in-your-face. It helps to be reminded of the good.
Tenshitenshidesu on April 16th, 2013 05:39 pm (UTC)
Thank you for this and for reminding people that most terrorism is domestic. So many people after were saying that there was a Saudi national so of course it was him. When things like this happen we shouldn't be divisive and start pointing fingers at groups of people. We should instead remember that they are victims too. Every group of people is hurt when things like this happen. And as for the Sandy Hook parents, I would totally understand if they lose all faith in humanity. Some times it's really hard for me not to but I have two children and it's my responsibility to raise them to be the change in the world.
κάτι τρέχει στα γύφτικα: deathandthemaiden_inbetween_ on April 16th, 2013 06:36 pm (UTC)
Admittedly, if the first doofus had just knelt down and maybe held open a box, it would have run TO him, not from him as when he stomped to throw a sack over it. =

Bout the Boston horror I know nothing yet, having been in my own private h
pioniepionie on April 16th, 2013 09:28 pm (UTC)
Thank you for the kitten, much appreciated. I've read too much horrible news today.
Sarah: Nice Hair, Clever, Has Her Own Gun: The Truththenotoriousso4 on April 17th, 2013 12:48 am (UTC)
There really needs to be less bombs in the world, and more big, burly men rescuing kittens.
Sherrysherryillk on April 17th, 2013 12:58 am (UTC)
When I first saw this on the news and saw the explosions, my first thought was that it was probably domestic terrorism. It reminded me a lot of the bombings during the Atlanta Olympics and I couldn't help but think that had it been foreign terrorists, they probably would have caused more damage...
Jaeenchanted_jae on April 17th, 2013 01:38 am (UTC)
Thanks for sharing Emma's story and Suzanne's. Thanks, too, for the kitten vid. It did make me feel a bit better.


Although part of me is shaking my head and muttering, "Cats can be so stupid."
bare_memabonwitch on April 17th, 2013 02:45 am (UTC)
Thanks for that. It's so heart wrenching, hearing about what feels like disaster after disaster...but I just keep remembering that there is good in the world.
women's lasers: chickball - mesarcasticpixie on April 17th, 2013 02:55 am (UTC)
I'm here, my city is here, and we're not going anywhere. At the Red Cross's suggestion, I'm going to donate blood next week -- apparently, blood has a shelf life! They're set right now, but will need to replenish in a week or two.

I do regret that I broke my promise and didn't get to cheer for your pal in person, but overall, I'm very glad I overslept and stayed home yesterday. I'm useless in a crisis and my mother would have had a heart attack if she couldn't get through to me via text.

On my run through the city tonight, I saw so many people out, doing the same thing I was -- running out their anger and leaving it on the pavement so we're better equipped to help those who need it.

valkyrie17valkyrie17 on April 17th, 2013 04:33 am (UTC)
The kitten video is a nice anodyne to the horrible events at the Boston marathon. While we wonder what makes people do such dreadful things, it's nice to be reminded that people also do good things.
auntpurl: god is pissedauntpurl on April 17th, 2013 08:49 am (UTC)
Lovely post, thank you for writing it. I thought the same thing as you when watching - trying to remember that there are way more good people than bad people, and tearing up as I saw most everyone in the vicinity pitch in and help without being asked - not just first responders, either. It was a fine example of the best of humanity conquering the worst of humanity. I do hope Americans don't give in to the PANIC FEAR response, as that is exactly what terrorism is trying to accomplish. Rather, I hope they take a cue from the Brits - I so admire the "Fuck off, we're not going anywhere" attitude of the UK when things like this happen. "I've been terrorised by a better class of bastards than you!"
The dreamer is still asleep: Sox: RS for lifeinspiredlife on April 17th, 2013 09:14 am (UTC)
Thanks for sharing these stories and the kitten (omg!). My brother is a Boston police officer and was on duty about a mile away from the first explosion. I feel very, very far away from my hometown right now but it's amazing to hear him talk to about what's going on in the city, how awesome the residents are being (I'm so not surprised though) and the fantastic work all the emergency personnel are doing. I've always known Boston was an amazing city and now others are seeing it as well.
shu_shu_sleepsshu_shu_sleeps on April 17th, 2013 09:40 am (UTC)
I am continually amazed by the whole gamut of human nature, action and choices, inspired by the courage and kindness in us all, horrified and saddened by the lesser angels expressed at times to widely varying degrees by us all. I feel a bizarre sadness for those individuals who feel that committing this type of act is the best way to make their point because what must it be like to live in that type of brain.... And all the while while I am horrified by the impact and consequences of such heinous acts. Whether this act was domestic or foreign in origin, one thing is very clear, people rise above the horror and just keep going. And that is amazing to watch. Kiiten videos also help:) My hope is that those whose lives have been tragically cut short rest in pece, and may all those others affected, heal and continue to grow stronger.
mrsquizzicalmrsquizzical on April 17th, 2013 10:58 am (UTC)
bk7brokemybrainbk7brokemybrain on April 17th, 2013 03:30 pm (UTC)
Thank you for this positive post. :)
I was wondering why Boston? Why the Marathon? Femmequixotic posted that it was a holiday, Patriot's Day, in Massachusetts (perhaps why the race was being run on a weekday), and it was also April 15, the deadline for Federal and State taxes. I'm sure it was domestic terrorism, so perhaps it was a pointed jab at the Government in a historical city known for protests. Idek....
I do love how people show their best in the middle of the worst.
OMG it's full of STARS!: Rainshadowleelastarsky on April 18th, 2013 12:22 pm (UTC)
That kitten video does give one hope, doesn't it. Thankyou. ♥