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In the words of Patton Oswalt: "Boston. Fucking horrible."

I feel like that sums up all my thoughts on the issue. This is a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad thing that happened. 2 people have died. Dozens are injured. It's been classified as a terrorist attack since there were 4 explosives and damn. Just...damn.

My Facebook wall is awash with condolences and prayers for the city of Boston, hopes for the safety of all and thoughts going out to the families and friends. And in the midst of this, a genius on my friend's list (hereafter known as Sir) posts the following:

                      HELLO?! Read the news people. Other places have it worse today. Pray for
                      everyone, always--not just America.

And the urge to knock said genius off his high ass horse becomes almost unbearable.

My reaction to this status update might be grossly out of proportion, but I find the smug superiority of this statement to be obnoxious in the extreme.

So, Sir, let's get a few things straight.

What happened in Boston today is a tragedy. When disaster strikes and people are killed and injured, be it because the tectonic plates of the Earth moved or because of a bullet or a bomb, it is a tragedy. And you, Sir, don't get to tell me how to feel about a tragedy. There are many things worse than people reaching out to others with the common goal of offering comfort and aid. Many, many things. If this kind of collective outpouring of emotion bothers you, I suggest you stay off Facebook. Possibly the Internet.

I resent your assumption that I don't know that there are other horrible things happening in the world. You linked to a CNN article about bombings in Iraq that killed 42 people, and yes, you are correct. That is a tragedy. An earthquake in Iran last Tuesday killed 37, and that same day a gunman in Serbia killed 13. 33 people died in a bus crash in Peru on Saturday, and 29 people were killed and 60+ wounded by militants in Somalia on Sunday.* THESE ARE ALL TRAGEDIES. And I pray for all those people and their families. None of these events make the others less sad. A tragedy, by its very definition, is a shocking and/or sad event**  A status update or a picture from Upworthy in recognition of one of these tragic events does not lessen the impact of the others. There is no scale. There is no system of measurement. There is only sorrow.


I am large. I contain multitudes. There is room in me for empathy and anger and sorrow and hope and loss and relief and joy ALL AT THE SAME TIME. It is possible to me to experience multiple emotions regarding multiple current events ALL AT THE SAME TIME. I'm just that impressive. And so are a lot of other people.

You, Sir, do not know the story of every single person on your friend's list. And that, frankly, surprises me not at all. Very few of us limit our Facebook friend's list to people we are personally friends with. I cannot claim to know the complete life story of all 400+ of the people on my friend's list. You seem to have decided that everyone on Facebook was suffering from some bizarre form of lemming syndrome with these posts about Boston. Let me clear some things up for you. 27,000 people run the Boston Marathon every year, and  500,000 people watch it. Approximately 625,000 people LIVE in Boston.*** That's a lot of opportunities for frightened friends and family. Two of my friends were running the Boston Marathon. Several more of my friends live in Boston. They've all checked in (say what you will about Facebook, when cell service is spotty it can be a damn effective communication tool) and I'm breathing a little easier knowing that those I care about are safe. But that is not the case for everyone. Other places have it worse? I believe, sir, that you and your astonishing lack of sympathy and tact have missed the point.

Most of my life philosophy can be summed up by this phrase - Do Not Be A Jackass. You, Sir, have not accomplished this. You are not being clever or incisive or enlightening when you say things like "Other places have it worse." Like Mr. Rogers, I'm looking around for the helpers. And you, Sir, aren't one.

Hugs and Kisses,

**World English Dictionary
***U.S. Census Bureau


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