Everything happening in Boston yesterday was a bit too much. Too much to process. Too much to remember.
Too much noise.
There’s nothing I can add to the conversation at this point. I have no information on the event that hasn’t been blasted on the news, spread across Twitter or shared on Facebook. The facts so far are clear and quite depressing. The noise that follows is even worse. After an event like this, I require information … and we don’t have any. People have grief, fear, heartfelt concerns and crackpot conspiracies. That noise flows into the gaps left by a lack of information.
Yes, I stayed off of social media for most of Monday. I turned off the radio for a while, because the news stopped giving me news. People speculated, guessed, filled time until the next press conference.
Yes, I am overwhelmed by the signs of humanity and compassion that follow an event like this. I remember going back to Centennial Park in 1996 when it reopened after the Olympic bombing. I watched the World Trade center fall from a hotel room halfway across the world, and clapped with the rest of the passengers when that first international flight from Tokyo to Atlanta safely brought me home. I remember the panic, second guessing and witch hunts. But I also remember the kindness of strangers. The people who ran towards the explosion instead of away.
In those events, we suffered from a lack of information. I could work for the week of September 10, 2001 in Tokyo without being followed by 24-hour headline news reports of experts examining a lack of information. It took years for people to understand what actually happened. I don’t think it’s fair to say that those events were ever “closed” or “resolved” … just better understood. Now people have more immediate ways to fill those gaps. Like reporters in a news room, we have to sort the wheat from the chaff. It’s hard on the mind. It’s hard on the heart.
I think it’s a sad commentary on the news when The Onion is where I turn for the best explanation …
According to a majority of Americans, they have mostly come to terms with the fact that they now live in a world where, when an explosion happens, they immediately suspect it’s the result of domestic or foreign terrorism and are fully aware that hoping people died because of an accidental gas leak is morbidly wishful thinking. The U.S. populace also said that seeing the photo of a vacant-eyed suspect appear on their computer screen or watching a recorded message made by someone halfway around the world hours or days after an attack no longer shocks them.
In fact, sources confirmed, the nation fully expects it.
What reportedly frustrates and angers them most, every citizen in America said, is accepting that there is absolutely nothing they can do to change it.
I would like information. I want to be able to understand what happened. But that isn’t going to happen today.
So for now, I’m turning off the noise.