We’re in it together

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Today, and for all the days going forward, we are all Bostonians.
It has been said before, but it bears repeating. When violence strikes at one of us, it strikes at all of us.
At Virginia Tech, in Littleton, Oklahoma City, New York City, Newtown and Aurora. And it goes beyond our borders — Norway, Finland, Britain and Germany. Just a few of the places that, in the last 20 years, have been the stage for unspeakable acts of violence and terrorism. Yes, terrorism.
Merriam-Webster defines terrorism as “the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion.” The semantics of the word can be argued, the intent and the connotation.
But the fact remains that when someone, or a group of someones, either domestic or foreign, decides to make a statement, to send a message through blood and death, that is terrorism. When these acts occur, we are reminded that it could happen to any of us, anywhere, at any time.
And we are reminded that we are not just citizens of Valencia County — we are citizens of the world, more connected now than probably any time in our history. Information and images crisscross the globe at the speed of light and the voice of a loved one, now safe from danger, can be heard instantly.
We mourn those lost, we rage at the perpetrators and we rebuild and try to heal. With that healing and rebuilding, we hope that learning also comes. Whether it’s how to better secure our borders, protect our public events or treat those with mental illness, we must learn.
Pointing the political finger of blame gets us nowhere and may only serve to give those who are already disenfranchised with the world more reason to strike out, commit violence.
As our childhood friend Mr. Rogers reminds us, in times like this, we must look for the helpers. Look for the people, trained and untrained, running towards the danger without thought for their own safety, running to the screams and sirens.
Look for the heros stepping out of the destruction carrying the injured to safety. Watch for those who dole out small kindnesses — a hug, a bottle of water, a blanket or a simple smile. As we are all citizens of these scattered places that have been visited by tragedy, we are all also the helpers.
We stand tall, we stand firm. And we open our arms and hearts to those in need.