walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

A Few Slightly Groggy Thoughts About What Just Happened

I'm watching a bunch of people in the streets of Watertown clapping. I cannot even begin to imagine the relief they are feeling. I am so glad they can have that feeling of relief.

A couple snowstorms back, the governor ordered a travel ban, effectively turning a weekday into a weekend day, and effectively turning a disaster with many deaths and so forth into a disaster with a smaller number of deaths and a lot less hassle associated with the cleanup. It was a brilliant decision, applauded by many of our governor's detractors, as well as even more numerous supporters -- it prevented bosses from pressuring workers to make bad decisions about where they should be when and how to make that happen.

I cannot recall any kind of manhunt like the one for the second suspect in the Marathon bombing -- I'm sure someone has some historical precedents, but there has been a sense that all the eyes and ears and efforts of the city have been, if not turned towards this herculean group effort, then at least committed to not getting in the way of that effort. While there were people who said that shutting the city down let the terrorists "win" (whatever that might mean), the outcome (a live suspect in custody) should convince anyone in doubt that that was not at all what happened.

We are not so poor and so desperate that our daily lives must continue, regardless the cost, whether unseasonable weather or unreasonable inhumanity. We can pause. We can re-prioritize. In the words of the people who taught the Wilderness First Responder course I took over a decade ago (and a cliche among those whose career is saving us all from horrible things), "Don't just do something. Stand there."

I am impressed beyond words by the diligence, professionalism, courage, and patience shown by so many. Of course we all want nothing horrible to ever happen again, but I hope we can learn from this that if something horrible does happen, and we have to take a break from our daily lives to deal with it, that is just fine and we have the time to take the time.

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