Archive for April, 2013

Do We Overmourn?

April 21, 2013

by John Furgele
April 21, 2013

It has been a difficult five months for the American way of life.  That life includes being able to go to school and run a road race without any worries.  Yes, little Stevie may throw up in lunch, but school should be a fun, character building event.  The same for road racing.  You gather, warm up, run, socialize, then head home, no muss, no fuss.

Until Monday, road racing was like that, but then two bombs went off at the Boston Marathon, killing three and injuring over 200.  It has been a long, tough week for all of us, especially those in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  Americans are a resilient bunch and there will be a Boston Marathon in 2014, and there will be road races each and every weekend for years to come.  The motivation behind the attacks to me, is always unsure—-do they want to simply get attention, prevent a future event or just protest against the freedom that the American way of life offers?

School shootings became popular after Columbine in 1999, and after Newtown, we have seen just how tragic and even polarizing they can be.  There will likely be another one no matter how hard we try to prevent it.  In fact, one wonders why they don’t happen more?  As a free society, we crave freedom, desire freedom and demand freedom.  In a way, those 26 who perished in Newtown, died preserving that freedom that we want and demand.

The problem with these events is the attention that they create.  Now, they deserve the attention that they get, and love or loathe the media, they actually helped find and eventually quell the Boston Marathon bombers.  But, after the Newtown tragedy, the media trucks stayed there, camped out for weeks and depending on whom yo would ask, helped or hindered the healing process.  President Obama used the tragedy to attempt to push through gun legislation and eventually, Newtown became the dreaded political football.

This is a sensitive topic, one that needs to be dealt with carefully.  Most of us didn’t lose a child, so as sad as we may be, it can’t even begin to compare to the pain of those parents, and siblings.  The same can be said for the victims of Boston.

We are a divided country, in fact, this country is probably at its most divisive stage in in history.  As polarizing as the Reagan Era was, this era is beyond polarizing.  And, these tragedies underscore this.  I feel pain when I see the parents of the Newtown victims being interviewed, but I also question why they are being interviewed.

Since Newtown, there have been massive tributes to the victims.  The Newtown kids went to the Super Bowl, athletes wore names and numbers on the shoes, hats and helmets.  This is not wrong, but is it overdone?  Do we, as a society overmourn or even celebrate death.  I’ve asked this question to people and the standard answer is that we can’t forget what happened, or these are kids, or how would you feel?  I get all of it.

But, who’s watching all these tributes, memoriams and celebrations?  Were those Boston bombers paying attention?  Did they see all the attention given to the Newtown 26?  Did they see that a special marker was going to be placed at mile 26 (.2 miles before the finish line) in memoriam of the 26 Newtown victims?

My guess is yes that they did see all the attention and they decided that they were sick of it, or decided that they, too could gain some glory for years to come if they could pull off a dastardly deed that they ultimately did on Patriots Day.

When I see all the tributes I get sad and give thanks that my kids and I are safe.  But, as I watch, I wonder how many sinister people are watching and fears creep in.  Killing will never be an understood drama in this country or others, but people kill for different reasons.  For those who kill for attention, or a cause, one should be able to see why the overmourning of a Newtown or the Boston Marathon could have negative effects.

No society is more free, no society will ever be freer, but there is a price to pay, but hopefully, our society will be careful. Mourning is needed, it is necessary, but we don’t want it to serve as a catalyst.