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Truth Behind Terrorism

A look into the events of Boston this last week

by Published: Apr 24, 2013

This past week has been filled with tragedy, fear and relief for not only the city of Boston, but the entire coun­try. The events seem to be more like a sea­son of the tele­vi­sion show “24” than actual reality.

While I’m not dis­cred­it­ing the tragedy of the mat­ter, it’s still impor­tant to keep in per­spec­tive that this is not an uncom­mon occurrence.

The amount of media atten­tion and out­pour­ing of sup­port was far beyond any cov­er­age of any inci­dent in the war-torn coun­tries of the Middle East. There were no fundrais­ing efforts for the peo­ple of Syria or the rest of the nations that went through Arab Spring, which I’m sadly sure that a vast major­ity of the stu­dent body thinks means an unusu­ally warm April.

I can see why the attacks on Boston hit so heav­ily on the American pop­u­la­tion. It was a mass causal­ity event that affected the lives of nor­mal Americans. The imagery that was sup­plied by the numer­ous pho­tog­ra­phers and video­g­ra­phers from the fin­ish line gave the pub­lic a hor­rific yet hon­est look at the event and its after­math. It also even­tu­ally led to the iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of the two suspects.

Yet before the iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of the bombers, ama­teur detec­tives scoured pho­tos of the event to try and iden­tify the per­pe­tra­tors. And to go per­fectly along­side our his­tory of xeno­pho­bia, these “inves­ti­ga­tors” iden­ti­fied two Arab men as the bombers.

While they turned out to be inno­cent bystanders like so many oth­ers, their inno­cence was only secured after being shamed and called ter­ror­ists, even by the front page of the New York Post.

This event also showed a lot about our media cul­ture. Two days after the bomb­ings, reports came out that they had arrested an indi­vid­ual. In what seemed to be a bad game of tele­phone, these reporters mor­phed between media out­lets to start includ­ing eth­nic­i­ties, say­ing they have iden­ti­fied but not arrested, and a sleuth of other misreportings.

It wasn’t until the Boston police depart­ment announced that they still had no infor­ma­tion on the iden­ti­fi­ca­tion on the bomber did those reports subside.

The long-term effects of such an inci­dent will unfold, and there’s no way in pre­dict­ing when another event like this one will occur again. But we can­not let an event like this change our way of life. Unlike pre­vi­ous events which have changed how we travel on air­planes, reper­cus­sions from an event like this would be much more universal.

One shin­ing point from this dark week is see­ing or hear­ing sto­ries of peo­ple who leapt into action. And to those, Mr. Rogers put it best: “Look for the helpers. You will always find peo­ple who are helping.”