It struck me last night, while watching the news coverage of the Boston Marathon Tragedy that the vast majority of Americans (and earthlings for that matter) were glued to their screens. To say we are Media Obsessed is an understatement. I feel as I watch the events play out that what I am seeing is unreal. Am I just watching another sad reality show on Bravo? No. Not even close. I was appalled and shocked by the shaky footage, displaying white smoke pouring out between bodies running. Running both toward and away from the screams behind that curtain of smoke. But these images did not illicit sadness. I felt numb.
At 9:45 last night, a press release was aired on nearly every news station with a surgeon from an ER in a hospital in Boston. Media violently threw questions like spears at the shaken physician. How many did you treat? What did the ER look like? What shapes were the shrapnel? How did staff respond with the masses of injuries presenting? What was the most extreme injury sustained? Are you fucking kidding me? None of these questions personalize the tragedy. The injury. Shrapnel. These are people. Live humans, who were running, cheering, laughing, playing just minutes before and who suffered pain, horror, devastation which we can’t begin to put words to. Thankfully, the surgeon declined to answer many of these questions.
This morning, I went to check my email and there on the homepage was a still-shot photo of a smiling 8 year old boy holding a poster which read Peace. That’s when it hit me. He’s dead. A bed stayed made last night. A school bus stopped but no child got on. A coat hook in a classroom remained empty. As did a seat behind a desk and at a lunch table. There was one less laugh or squeal of playful childhood bliss on the playground. This is when the tears come, my throat tightens and I lose it. This was a boy as innocent and life-loving as my own. He is not a casualty. He is a brave, smart, beautiful boy; lost forever.
Turn off the TV. Please stop watching tragedy unfold through the safety of an LCD lens Hug your children. Hold your children. Support those families. Donate money, blood, clothing, supplies, time. But don’t just sit on your couch and watch other experience unthinkable disaster. We are so removed when we turn to the television for facts. We encouraged the media to dog physicians, to stalk nurses coming off duty, to call families, to depersonalize and sensationalize all that happened. Turn off the TV and help. Remember those whose lives have been taken from them and lend a hand, your time and a few of your tears to their families who will only see their loved ones through still-shot photos. Peace Mamas.