Tuesday, April 16, 2013

In Boston Marathon aftermath: Live, laugh, love

Yesterday was a dark day for the city of Boston, its annual marathon and our country as a whole.

Three people are dead - one of them an 8-year-old boy - and more than 130 people were injured after two bombs exploded near the finish line of the 117th annual Boston Marathon Monday afternoon. My thoughts are with all of those who were affected.

It was one of those days that had many people glued to social media and televisions as details about the horrific incident came in. One of those days when I imagine parents hug their children a little tighter. Or if you're a journalist, it's a day when breaking news takes over.

Day turns to breaking news
I was in the newsroom when I heard about the reported explosions, and I quickly turned to Twitter as my feed began rolling with Tweets mostly all dealing with the bombing. I knew I needed to get something up with a Breaking News banner on our paper's website, so I Googled and searched for some information before the Associated Press had a story up for me to grab.

My afternoon then turned into a constant pattern of updating the web with the most updated AP story, along with scrolling through Tweets and Facebook posts to find out the latest reports. I also found the race results of a Fergus Falls man who had finished the race and was given his cell phone number to try for an interview.

I had heard reports of cell service being shut down, so when I didn't get through to the local runner, I began an interview via a string of text messages. He and his wife were safe and were out of the area when the blasts occurred. He ended his last text to me by saying he was going to spend the rest of the evening with his wife on their anniversary.

Take a moment
Some of the AP stories offered graphic details about the scene and the trauma that people endured. I did watch one short video of the explosions, from the sports reporter at the Boston Globe. That was pretty raw.

After seeing that and then a few photos, I stopped focusing with my reporter's hat on for a moment and quickly said a silent prayer for everyone involved. In all the hustle and bustle of breaking news, sometimes you just need to take a moment and think about what is happening, regardless of the news element.

As I watched the special coverage on NBC Monday night, I started thinking about the safety of other major sporting events in this country. The Indianapolis 500 and Daytona 500 are two of the first ones I thought of, being a race fan, and they attract hundreds of thousands of people. Not to mention all the other sporting and recreational events.

Too many tragedies, too often
In less than a year we've seen that movie theaters and kindergarten classrooms are not exempt from violent tragedies either, with Aurora, Colo. and Sandy Hook Elementary School.

The movie theater shooting tragedy came into my mind over the weekend, actually. I went to see the late showing of the new Jackie Robinson movie "42." Having arrived a few minutes early, I was the only one in the theater for a bit. There weren't any pre-preview commericals running on the screen or anything, so all I heard were the sounds of the heating and cooling system overhead and the popcorn crunching in my mouth.

Then I looked up and saw the emergency exit door in the front of the theater. My mind went back to that day last summer when I heard the details of the Aurora shooting. It made me pause for a moment as I realized how something like that could happen anywhere these days.

Are we really safe anywhere in today's world? Probably not. Can we wrap ourselves in bubble paper and never leave the house because of what might happen? Absolutely not.

I don't know what the answers are in dealing with a tragic event such as the Boston Marathon bombing. But I do know that we should continue to move forward and live our lives by doing good things.

Live, laugh, love.


  1. Very thoughtful and heartfelt. Excellent job!
    We are all exposed and open to violence as we navigate our lives but we have to exercise our freedom or the crazies win.
    I'm proud of cousin! Barbara F

  2. This was heartfelt... something sometimes sacrificed for "objective reporting". Your article was very meaningful for me. Carry on.