Marathon Bombings Bring Out the Best and the Worst in People

April 19, 2013

Tragedy brings out the best and the worst in people.

After the Boston marathon bombings, the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil since 9/11, Boston residents became united.  Many at the scene helped the injured and there was a widespread outpouring of goodwill.

I heard from friends in Chicago and Canada who asked if I was OK.  As someone who hates crowds and has no interest in running, the chances that I would watch the Boston marathon are close to zero, but I appreciated the e-mails.

Corporate America came together, too.  Adidas is rolling out a limited edition “Boston Stands As One” T-shirt with all proceeds going to The One Fund Boston, a foundation to help the victims of the bombing.  Boston Beer Co. is turning over all money raised from the sale of a special brew, and the John Hancock financial company and AT&T already have pledged $1 million each.

Conversely, the tragedy showed the limitations of social media as a source of news.  Too many rumors were spread.  Likewise, mainstream media, recognizing the need to compete with the most recent tweet, jumped to unfounded conclusions.

Chris Matthews, as one example, pontificated, coming to the conclusion that the bombs had to have been planted by some right-wing nut job, because the bombing took place not only on Patriots Day, but on the tax filing deadline.  He was not the only journalist to draw that conclusion.

This morning we heard from my youngest son, who is on lockdown in his Brighton apartment.  One of the two suspects in the bombing has been killed, and the FBI and police are closing in on the terrorists who set off the bombs.  Can Boston stay united when this is over?

 

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