As I sit here this morning, I read my Facebook feed. It is filled with hatred, anger and fear. The negativity is palpable. It makes me sad.
My immediate reaction. I closed my eyes, took a deep breath and simply prayed. I sent love and light to the law enforcement involved, those impacted by the events of this week and most immediately last night and today and to those perpetuating the fear and hatred. I didn't need to know the details. People are in harms way, they need our love and light. I have it. I offer it. Simple and done.
I have not even turned on the news, nor do I intend to. I don't have to. It's all right there on Facebook and Twitter. My ping4alerts went off this morning with news of the lockdown in Boston and manhunt underway. Speculation and repetitive pictures of crime scenes serve no one.
I, like many other people, know of people directly impacted by the bombing on Monday, who were there, at that time or just missed it by minutes. Who were supposed to be there, and by one reason or another, were not. I have friends, right now, many of them, in the area of the lockdown and manhunt. We all know someone impacted directly by this right now. It has hit close to home. Our home. I get it. I really do.
I do not fear for them. I do not fear for myself or my family. Not just because I live in the suburbs of the suburbs. Not just because I don't work in the city. Why then, you ask?
I don't do fear. Maybe it's my own life's experiences that give me perspective. Living in fear serves no one. It's ok to feel fear, it's a human emotion and we are human, after all. We can't let that fear win. We can't let it make us panic. We can't let it stop us from living our lives. What we have to be careful of is not to let it overtake us.
Fear is useful in that it can cause us to be more pro-active about our own safety. We become more alert, more vigilant, more observant. People are scared right now because they feel they have no control. It's the fear of the unknown. It's no different than taking a big test, preparing for labor and birth for the first time or getting a cancer diagnosis or even just being old and knowing the end of your life is closer than the beginning. It's something we do not know the ultimate outcome of. We can, at best, prepare for it and do our best to manifest the best outcome possible, but also the safest one. The difference is those things affect but a small group, something like what's happening in Boston affects large groups of people. Panic begets panic. Fear begets fear.
I am also not scared because I know those who are in law enforcement right now have trained their entire careers for this exact sort of thing. They know the risks, their families know the risks, they choose to do this for the greater good. They are our heroes and we support them. Of course their loved ones are worried. I get that. But what they need is not your worry and fear, they need a bubble of love and protection around them. So they can do their jobs without worrying about your worry! You can do that for them!
Another thing concerns me. In the attempts of law enforcement to keep us safe, they order certain things we are not used to. We only see it on TV or hear about it elsewhere. It contributes to our fear. The lack of information they are giving, the lockdown and closing of businesses, streets and transportation is to keep people safe and to minimize avenues for the suspect to get away. It's a protective policy. It's about our safety. Let's not compromise it!
Now all of you posting pictures of what you see outside your windows could be compromising that very safety! Stay away from the windows, stop broadcasting where the police are and where the suspect may be so they can do their jobs!
Shame on the media, for all their speculation and unchecked 'facts'. Get the hell out of the way and let law enforcement do their jobs! Ratings be damned. We are dealing with real people here. Real lives. I, for one, don't trust what I hear from the media at this point. I don't much care what someone who knows someone has to say. I don't care where they are from. I care that they get the right people with the least amount of collateral damage. Realize that law enforcement witholds details for our protection and so they can actually get their guy!
Social media is great, but it adds a significant complication to situations like this. Think before you post! When they ask for your pictures, send them. It's part of what led to this day. That's fantastic. When they don't ask for them, don't publicly post them. Keep them to yourself, at least until it's over.
What can you do? Turn off the TV and the radio. Inventory your house and car and do a safety check. How many of you don't have that disaster kit ready yet? How many of you wish you did? How many of you have one, but have not checked on it in more than a year to be sure what you have is not expired and still appropriate for all members of the family? We often don't see the need for knowing how to 'shelter in place' or be prepared for a 'disaster' when we don't live in a severe weather or war zone. The events of this week are exactly why being prepared is so important. Being prepared can alleviate fear. If you want to get that disaster kit ready, here's a great link to Ready.gov. Make a list of what you need. Go shopping. There is a great scavenger hunt game for kids on the ready.gov site to get them involved.
We now live in Colombine, Aurora, Newtown, NYC and all of those other small town or big cities that have been victim to an act of terrorism. We are not special. We are no different. We will recover. Better. Stronger. Safer. Still, we will never be 100% safe. Ever. Life itself involves risk. There will always be the unknown. The best we can do is prepare for it.
In the meantime, join me in sending love and light to all those involved in the events of last night and today. May we together, find peace. May love win. May we emerge safer and stronger individually and as a community at large.