Boston strong. That phrase became well known and important after the Marathon bombing two years ago. I remember that day so vividly. That year we were surprising KC with a birthday party a day before his "real" birthday. He had never had a surprise party before. The weather was really warm and beautiful and we were outside. I had been remembering that in years past, the company I worked for at the time invited employees to bring their families into town. We would brunch, watch a RedSox game and then see the end of the Marathon right out in front of corporate headquarters. The year before my company had been sold and that beloved outing was a thing of the past. But although I was not in Boston, I had friends running the race. I had friends watching the race that day.
The whole idea of the bombing seemed somewhat surreal. I don't think I am used to the idea of terrorist acts on our shores yet. There are countries (Israel springs to mind) where dealing with this has gone on so long that one suspects they must have developed a different mindset surrounding this. I am still in the shock stage when such things happen in the USA. I remember getting updates on the situation, checking with friends that they were all okay, and then mostly shielding the kids who were that much younger. KC had his party and it felt odd to be doing that, knowing that 50 or so miles away, some people's lives and dreams had been ripped apart.
I was relieved that the bomber was caught (well, the younger brother, the elder dying when his brother ran him over). I expected a guilty verdict and was not surprised at the outcome yesterday. But what I was not ready for was the virulant diatribes on social media. People who said not only should he get the death penalty, but he should be killed slowly and inhumanely. So much hatred spewed across my computer screen from so many sources that I shut off my computer for the night.
I am not a pacifist. I do support the death penalty. But there are things to remember. This is a relatively young person who I do think was very emotionally swayed by his revered and charismatic older brother. Even if we decide that the death penalty is what he must have, can we not also remember that he is someone's child. He was once a promising student, a friend, an athlete? Choices have consequences and I am not diminishing that. But the flood of hatred that came forth made me feel that we as a society were perpetuating the hatred of that horrible act.
If I had been in Boston that day and it had been my child who was killed, I don't know how I would feel. My kids are my life. But I hope that I would remember that what I love best about my kids are their loving giving spirits and that it would dishonor those spirits to react with hatred and virulence.
There is a line between justice and retaliation and last night on social media the line was crossed for me.