There are all kinds and levels of monsters associated with the Boston Marathon attack. The very worst of them planted bombs. Some took pictures. Some published them.
Today was the first day in weeks that I have not spent the majority of the day at my desk, on my computer, connected to the internet, newsfeeds, twitter, Facebook and email. So, I was shocked when I received a text from my husband asking me if I had heard what happened in Boston.
He had just arrived at his destination on a business trip and as soon as he turned his phone on, he came across the news. He sent me a text to let me know he had arrived safely, immediately followed by his question. I texted back I was leaving, getting back on the road myself and had no idea what he was talking about, and for him to call me when he could because I would be driving. No, we don’t text and drive.
I had to spend the next several hours in the car, so I turned off the CD’s I had been listening to and turned on the news. Like everyone else, I wanted to know what happened, what did it mean, who did it and why, though answering the who usually answers the why. While waiting to hear the answers to those questions, I listened to the audio of what was surely the videos of the attack. Sounds of the explosion, the screaming, the sirens, as the reporters kept repeating no one has taken responsibility, no one is in custody, the FBI was confirming it was a terrorist attack, but cautioned against speculation on whose terrorist agenda was being fulfilled.
When I finally got home and turned on the news, the death toll was confirmed at three, including an eight year old little boy and the number of injured had topped one hundred and thirty. Still no answers, but we are just hours after the attack so that is to be expected.
I got on the internet to scan the various news outlets, trying to glean more facts. On Facebook, everyone I know was posting prayers and support for the injured, those killed and their families. One friend posted a quote, ostensibly from Fred Rogers of “Mr. Rogers Neighborhood” fame.
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” To this day, especially in times of disaster, I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are so many helpers – so many caring people in this world”.
Another friend wrote an amazing and poignant post attached to a video, about the first responders and other heroes running towards the chaos. The starting pic of the video was from some distance, and the person recording was obviously rushing toward the scene.
This was nice, being reminded that there are heroes amongst us. In the face of so much tragedy and pain, I was once again comforted with the knowledge that, as Mr. Rogers said “there are so many helpers – so many caring people in this world”.
So, I clicked on the video and watched as people ran toward the carnage. The video was shaky, seemingly intentionally not showing the people who were surely lying on the ground, injured.
After the video played, a slide show immediately loaded.
Those slideshow pictures were the most horrific and graphic thing I have ever seen.
People lying in pools of blood. One man, curled in the fetal position grabbing his leg, or rather, what was left of his leg. Below the knee, there was what appeared to be 10” of shin bone, jagged on the end, no foot attached, sticking out of the bloody, raw mess that used to be his leg. Another of a woman, lying prone, both of her legs ending in macerated flesh just below the knees.
As horrible and shocking as those pictures and even the words used to describe them are, they pale in comparison to the looks on the faces of those so horrifically injured. I had seen more than I ever wanted. I furiously slammed the mouse down as I clicked on the ‘x’ to close the screen, as if I could remove those images not just from my computer, but from the entire internet.
What began as a feeling of almost hope, an expectation of seeing there are those who no matter the danger, rush in to help, turned into one of outrage.
How could a human being, seeing this horror decide to take photos instead of dropping whatever was in their hands and try to help? How does a person overcome what to me is a natural instinct, to reach out and just take a person’s hand if not rip off an article of clothing to make a tourniquet in an attempt to keep someone from bleeding to death in front of their eyes?
How does a person, having waded through the flesh and blood of their fellow human beings, capitalize on that suffering and make a quick buck by selling those photos to a news outlet? As sickened as I am at that, I am simply appalled that some editor thought it was a good idea to publish those photos, with the anguished and perfectly identifiable faces of people who may have been taking their last breathe as the shutter closed?
Does the idea that there may be people who have been unable to reach someone, unable to find out what happened to them, find their answer by seeing the face of their loved one in agony splashed across the internet not cross the mind of this editor?
I get the public’s right to know. I understand as I too was looking for information, for news, for more details and facts. But, to publish these photos, without either cropping out the faces or at least blurring them so they are not identifiable is beyond my comprehension.
In the days and weeks to come, those images will hopefully fade from my memory. Those victimes are strangers to me, yet I’m sure I’ll see their faces in my mind when I close my eyes tonight.
I hope and pray the families and friends of those victims do not come across those photos. If they do I doubt they’ll ever be able to close their eyes without seeing those images.
Today was a day of horror and heroes and monsters. I went looking for the heroes. I found the monsters.