By Ryan Stephens
Tragedy struck on April 15th after two bombs went off in Boston. Currently, three lie dead from the blast with dozens more suffering life changing wounds. With the White House and several politicians calling the incident a terrorist act, a massive storm of concern rushed out. Twitter, Facebook, and everyday conversation revolved around this incident and what it means for everyone. However, all of this drama surrounding it needs to remain calm because the current facts do not offer a clear picture, the incident itself gets exploited by those fishing for emotion and a lot of the fear comes from shock. Panic from these bombings should find no place in our lives for those reasons.
It’s not even a week since the bombings and conclusions continue to be drawn. Islamic terrorists, North Korea, and domestic terrorism all share some sort of blame from the general population. Everyone wants a perpetrator for the crime but a major problem arises. All of the information from the bombing trickles out with only a select few details unveiled to the public. The number of bombs, components of said bombs, their location, and the number of victims do not paint a broad picture that lends itself to making valid conclusions on. So for fear of even more terrorist actions being based on the few facts that exist on the bombings, a lot of it seems unnecessary. Of course, concern for the victims and sympathy for their families should be felt but fear of more attacks should not.
However, fear will still persist and people will be scared. Another big problem arises with this. As with all human emotions, the more morally questionable people like to exploit these times for money and publicity. Much like other tragic events, the raw human emotion drives giant cash cows that these very shady and sneaky people run.
Remember Kony 2012, a scam ran in order to raise awareness for a practically non-existent warlord by the name of Joseph Koney. Stories of child soldiers, brutal torture, and graphic details lit a fire under the Internet’s butt and drove thousands to purchase kits to help bring Joseph Kony to justice. Thing is, the profits from the kits instead went to the owners of the “charity.” A similar stream of sympathy bait images flooded for the Boston bombing. Descriptions of boyfriends trying to propose to girlfriends at the finish line and a child with career in marathon being struck down by the bombs, however, due to the sketchy details surrounding these events, the images seem to fish for likes, retweets, and all sorts of mass social network spreading.
While the consequences of fear results in some very tacky manipulation, what about the heart of it all? Shock from such a tragedy ultimately makes some people more prone to being scared, especially in a circumstance like this. 9/11 brought on a wave of very extreme thoughts. A patriotic zeal swept the nation with war being called for and the perpetrators of the act to suffer tortures on a whole other level. Of course, the Boston incident does not lend itself towards the same level of extreme attitude but a similar wave of patriotism came up, manifesting itself in people all around the nation. It arose because such an attack had never happened to the United States and since 9/11, its citizens have been weary. The first act of domestic terrorism in over ten years leads to that same repressed jingoistic attitude from 9/11 coming back to the surface. That same shock leads to a giant misrepresentation of the general populace’s attitude.
All in all, the Boston bombing will be marked as one of the more tragic events in recent American history. The three deaths call an end to the brief breath of safety Americans felt after 9/11 and a future of uncertainty. However, despite a potential increased scrutiny in our security, the only thing Americans should fear is fear itself because we don’t know all the facts around the bombing, people manipulate the event for money, and the shock of the event itself ultimately leads to a distortion of the actual feelings people should feel. We should mourn the Boston bombing victims but we should not be scared for our own safety.