Monday, April 22, 2013

Boston Marathon bombing hits home

Spartan Daily

Boston Marathon bombing hits home

by Margaret Baum Apr 17, 2013 10:15 pm Tags: 1996 Summer Olympics, Atlanta, Boston Marathon

Margaret Baum is the Spartan Daily Executive Editor, her column appears every other Monday.

I was sitting down eating lunch on Monday when I got a news alert on my iPhone. The alert said two explosions had gone off at the finish line of The Boston Marathon.

I remember that moment very clearly. In a single moment my heart sank.

I remember scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed just moments before I heard the news of the explosions. A friend that I had gone to college with in Boston right after high school was running the marathon that morning. She had already posted some photos of herself in Boston that morning.

My first thought was to go to her page and find out if she was OK. By the time I found her page again, I was relieved to find that she had finished and already left the area before the bombs went off.

My mom told me, "I never thought this would happen in Boston." I know that sounds like one of those things that people always say whenever there is a tragedy, but this felt different.

My phone started ringing off the hook with calls from family and friends. My Facebook feed was full of posts from people I know on the East Coast and all around the country.

This incident really hit home for me. I love Boston. I know that everyone loves their favorite cities. For me, Boston was home. I lived there for two years. I went to school there. I often dream about going back there. It is the place I started my adult life.

After high school, I felt the need to get away and start over and Boston was the place where I decided to begin a new chapter of my life.

Boylston and Newbury Streets were two of my favorite places in the city. I often went to the movie theater on Boylston Street or would window shop or grab ice cream with friends on Newbury Street.

Even though I wasn't physically in Boston that day, part of me is always there. Sometimes I still feel like the wide-eyed 18-year-old girl I was then, exploring the city and taking in all the history it had to offer.

I have this connection to the city. It is a connection that can never be broken no matter how long I stay away. I've heard numerous heart wrenching stories about the bombing on Monday and mine seems minuscule compared to some of the others, but it is my own.

I had a strange feeling that this event had a familiar feel to it, but I couldn't put my finger on what it was. It finally all made sense to me yesterday morning as I was streaming the White House Press Conference on my phone.

I have read a lot of stories about Monday's incident. Many of these stories describe how the bombs were made.

A New York Times story posted on Tuesday read,"The explosives that killed three people and injured more than 170 during the Boston Marathon on Monday were most likely rudimentary devices made from ordinary kitchen pressure cookers, except they were rigged to shoot sharp bits of shrapnel into anyone within reach of their blast and maim them severely, law enforcement officials said Tuesday."

As I continued reading that story, it was the next line that really hit home for me. "The pressure cookers were filled with nails, ball bearings and black powder, and the devices were triggered by 'kitchen-type' egg timers, one official said."

It reminded me so much of another bombing that I remember vividly. I was a young girl at the time and there was no way I could understand what happened then.

I was just 12 years old when it happened. My parents and I had been staying at one of my father's friends homes in Atlanta, Georgia for the Summer Olympics.

I don't remember our entire trip, but I do remember parts of the night of July 27, 1996.  I remember waking up right around the time that reports later said the bomb went off.

I walked into the room where my parents were sleeping. I woke my mom up and said, "Mom, I can't sleep and I don't know why." I was so freaked out for some reason.

I never knew why or how I woke up that night. Eventually we turned on the TV to hear the news of what had happened at Centennial Park.

I only slightly understood, but I knew it was something bad and I knew that people had gotten hurt. I don't remember the explanation that my parents provided. I do remember a few of the questions that ran through my head that night.

Why did this happen? Why would someone do this? Why would someone want to hurt people?

Now that I'm quite a bit older, I see things differently, as I should. I still have those questions floating in my head, but my perspective has changed.

I have felt a range of emotions over the last few days.

I realized that as people often say, things like this do happen and they can happen everywhere.

Does that mean everyone should live in fear? I don't know that I have the answer to that. I certainly would understand if some people didn't run marathons or races out of fear of similar incidents. Personally, I will go on living my life as I always have.

I will always have a special place in my heart for Boston. As I told my boyfriend last night, "Boston was the place I started my journey that led me to where I sit at this moment."

My condolences go out to everyone affected by this tragedy.

In some ways I am still that 12-year-old girl. I won't say that I understand why some people do the things that they do. Seeing the photos and hearing the stories of this tragedy made me physically ill. I wondered why someone would do something like this. I always ask myself that question when our nation faces a tragedy such as this one.

Looking back, I asked myself the same thing in Atlanta as a little girl and once again on 9/11.

I may never fully understand why things like this happen.

As a journalist, I haven't had to deal with reporting on tragedies such as these but I know that someday I might.

I believe that from a journalistic standpoint the best thing that can be done in a tragedy is to get information out to the public as soon as possible. I strongly believe that and were I among the journalists reporting on this tragedy I would try my best to do just that.

One thought on “Boston Marathon bombing hits home”

Ted Rudow III, MA on April 22, 2013 said:

They have sown violence and will reap violence.They reap the whirlwind! "Where did we go wrong?" the parents ask. "How could my little darling do this?" Very easily. There are lots of kids out there who are really tormented and , but because their parents are not there for them and don't take the time they need to comfort and take proper care of them, they're pushed over the edge and end up doing such horrible things. They're the product of a nation that has forgotten just where their values are meant to come from. They have turned to money, power and Hollywood for answers, and have been found wanting.

Now the gruesome toll of school shootings involving children who gained access to guns is leading some parents to add another, potentially awkward question about guns to the list. After all, guns, mostly handguns, are present in an estimated 40% of U.S. households. And according to the National Center for Health Statistics, 5,285 kids aged 19 years and under died in gun-related deaths in 1995, the most recent year for which statistics are available.

It's time for parents to wake up to the plight of their children! It's time for parents to see just where they are letting their children go by means of their selfish interests and by not taking time for the kids. Let this be a lesson on taking the time needed to minister to your kids. Do something now, today.

Ted Rudow III, MA

Spartan Daily

© 2013 The Spartan Daily

Serving San Jose State since 1934

No comments: