Sometimes, there simply are no words.
When faced with a situation like the Boston Marathon bombing yesterday, condolences are empty. Justifications do no justice, and the best intended reassurances sound like weak platitudes.
What can you say to the people who have lost a limb or two? To a parent with a child badly injured or killed? How about everyone who turned out to celebrate others’ triumph and ended up in a festival of blood instead? How do you explain that those with only shrapnel wounds were the “lucky” ones?
We fill the silence by cursing, by pointing fingers, by demanding justice. We call in experts to share their views on what lies ahead, on national security, on what would drive someone to do such a thing. We use inane chatter to mask the bewilderment and the horror and the fear and most of all, the aching grief for the lives forever changed.
Already people are blaming the American government for its actions in the Middle East, the left is blaming the right, and vice versa. People are swearing vengeance. I have no doubt someone in the political arena is hard at work figuring out how this can be used to further their own political agenda.
So please, everyone, shut the hell up. Offer your shoulder or a hug, or care for those who are hurting. Respond with what you do for others instead of recrimination and retaliation. In the silence, allow the pain to be a memory not only of the victims, but of the terrible, terrible price we pay when we are determined to make others suffer just as we are suffering.
Then we’ll have something worth talking about.