Boston Marathon Disaster Sparks Immediate Outpouring of Compassion

By now you’ve likely heard about the devastating explosions that occurred near the finish line of the Boston Marathon today.

Updates about what occurred, where it occurred, and who is responsible are already overflowing on the internet. Families are scrambling to locate their loved ones. Details about casualties and injuries are horrific. Suspicions that there might be similar explosive devices spread across the city are almost too much to bear.

Among the frenzy building across social media networks, a friend’s quiet message caught my eye and refocused my attention on what’s really important here.

“We are going to see a lot of media about the events in Boston, over the next days and weeks. It will get overwhelming and sensationalized. Stay strong brothers and sisters. The only thing that can beat this is our peace, love and drive to continue on.”

Amid the rubble, both literal and emotional, stories of hope and compassion are already emerging. The Twitter hashtag #prayforBoston was trending almost immediately. A public Facebook group called “Boston Marathon Explosion” was up within the hour, with the description: “Talk about the unfolding events and share photos. Invite your friends to participate.” Every where you looked were offers of assistance, rides, protection and comfort, often being offered to strangers by strangers.

People are also using the hashtag #bostonhelp to offer assistance through Twitter.

Knowing that thousands would be without the ability to call or be called, Google and others sprang into action (here is GoogleDocs link referenced below:

And the entire community of Brookline has banded together to offer displaced runners and families shelter. Follow @brooklinetab on Twitter or more info.

It is this solidarity, this resilience, this compassion for one another that people who perpetrate these crimes find threatening. It’s easy and advantageous to control people through fear, whether it’s the threat of real violence or imagined. A population crippled by fear withdraws and hides. We allow connections to erode. We grow suspicious.

But to remain strong, to love, to share and to embrace each other in a time of crisis as well as peace, THAT is true power. To remember our common bonds, to treat each other with respect and compassion, this is the most perfect way to fight back against those who would keep us terrified and isolated.

We are too strong, too smart and too human to be controlled by such a cheap tactic. Find a way to reach out in love to someone affected by this disaster, whether you know them or not. Only together can we heal the sickness that causes these atrocities to occur.


Image via ItsJennaMarbles on Twitter


Rose Becke4 years ago

This affected many people from all over the world

Fred Hoekstra
Fred Hoekstra4 years ago

Thank you Beth, for Sharing this!

marie jones
4 years ago

Ps.. Is anyone setting up a news page for Texas west about the explosion? I really hope it is not terrorist activity.

marie jones
4 years ago

For Every person who crosses the finishing line in London's Marathon on Sunday, £2.00 will be donated to the Boston Fund. Prayers to all in America and their families. They did think of stopping the London Marathon for respect but, you can't let the terrorists win. We all stand tall against these arseholes, and I think that is too nice a word for them.

Carolanne Powell
C Powell4 years ago

“You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. I hope someday you'll join us. And the world will live as one.”
― John Lennon

Arild Warud

Kudos to the peole of Boston.

Mari Garcia
Mari Garcia4 years ago

I have regained some hope!

Lori Ann Hone
Lori Hone4 years ago

Americans are truly exceptional people, in times of crisis we put aside our differences and pull together, especially since 9-11.

Brandon Van Every

But if it's not political, why pick Boston, the cradle of the American Revolution, and Patriot's Day specifically? Were there no other large gatherings in Boston, that would get media coverage? If there was no political goal, why not bomb a sporting event or a shopping mall?

Brandon Van Every

Well, I know everyone wants to get compassionate and emotional about it, because it has happened on American shores, and somehow that makes it different from all the other tragedies that occur all over the world all the time, or even the day to day deaths in this country from simpler, less flashy acts of violence. Since it's clear to me that the attacker meant to manipulate people's emotions in order to get a lot of attention, rather than to pile up a big body count, this bears commenting upon.

I call your attention to the domestic conversation about gun violence since Sandy Hook. The timeframe is about right. Right wing nutjob gets pissed at the reaction of the gun control lobby. Decides to take matters in his own hands. Looks up how to make pressure cooker bombs on the internet. Makes a prototype and tests it. Realizes the blast isn't very big, so makes 4 of 'em. Plans how to distribute them. The deadline for the "auspicious day" gets closer, and he realizes he has to ship what he's got instead of making more munitions. Very much a home hobby techie geek project, this. This person is smart enough to learn how to make bombs off the internet.

Maybe it's not political. Maybe after Sandy Hook, he decided he wanted to hurt people and that grabbing an AR-15 would arouse too much suspicion. Or maybe the bombs are just cheaper.

You can angst and cry and gnash teeth or you can try to figure out what's going on.