Writing about violence is much like writing about rape.

As a culture we understand the definitions but it gets fuzzy when we move from the general to the specific, or from the specific to the general. However, this post is not intended to be a lesson on the merits or flaws of using deductive versus inductive logic. Rather I am thinking of all the ways “running” is part of the act of terrorism in Boston.

  • People targeted while they were running.
  • The average runner finishes the Boston Marathon in four hours, the time the bombs exploded.
  • People running away, in fear and confusion.
  • People running to, to help and save lives.
  • Thoughts running to fear for our loved ones, friends and acquaintances who might be in Boston.
  • Thoughts running to fear for ourselves and our loved ones at similar large events that might be targeted.
  • Thoughts running to understand, blame, accuse, and ultimately – not today of course – leverage for whatever agenda or prejudice it can be attached to.

The word running is losing meaning as I read it now. Which is part of my point as meaning, or sense-making, will be a Swiss cheese affair no matter what evidence is eventually produced. It seems to me that it’s always the holes in the cheese, the negative space, that is used to support the “leveraged agenda”. The arguments that this proves that “Obama is a bad president”, or “we need more guns” or “stronger immigration laws” or “stronger policy on North Korea” (saw this one already) whether it has anything to do with the Boston event or not.

I watched the violence in Chardon and Sandy Hook get tied to agendas outside those stories, so I’m pretty sure it will happen about Boston soon enough. There’s a whole category of religious, political and news commentators (and I use that term very loosely) “running their mouths”, offering answers that makes national tragedies even worse. For me at least.

The only answer I’m looking for is how to adequately explain to my daughter that we can each decide how world events shape us. We’re not clay, we can choose. And the choices for processing and reacting to world events are endlessly complex – fear, courage, love, hate, action, destruction, paralysis, and on and on and on. Deciding rather than hiding is my policy because ultimately we can never run away from ourselves.

My deepest sympathies are extended to those affected by the bombings at the Boston Marathon. Wishing all those injured or responding a speedy reunion with loved ones.