Normally I would be sitting down today to write something silly about something that Ruby had said, or that Edward had peed on. Or perhaps I would be giving helpful musical advice, or singing silly songs. But not today. Today I, like much of America, am sitting in front of news coverage of a crazy manhunt going on in the city and surrounding suburbs of Boston.
I was originally watching the coverage on television, but it suddenly seemed like something I didn’t want Edward to be listening to as he sat on the floor playing with his snuffalupagus (not a euphemism, it’s part of his Sesame Street playset). So now I am glued to my computer screen, watching, waiting, reading, praying, and worrying.
As the news comes in, it shifts and changes as the media gets new information, changes old information, and makes up the rest. What is clear is that Boston is in a lockdown, and I have friends and family in that area. After that, not much else seems to matter.
I’m not technically from Boston, but both of my parents are from the area, so in a way I really am from Boston. And so is most of America. Sure, Plymouth Rock has been replaced by Ellis Island as a symbol of people coming to America to be free. And Ellis Island has been replaced by a giant fence with a lot of armed guards and angry Republicans. But from back in the day, in a pilgrimy sort of way, we are all from Boston. And that just makes this even more surreal.
A couple of brothers hurling explosives out of the back of a car on a high speed chase through the streets of Watertown? That seems to be what has been going on, but were the brothers here for a short time, or have they lived here most of their lives? Are they in this town, or that? Did they have no friends and hated America, or did they have lots of friends and live relatively normal lives? What were their motivations? What is really going on here? I have no idea. Everyone has a different story, and I need to unplug for a few minutes. Not much I can do about any of it from here anyway, except to worry and wonder. Of course the biggest question is, will the movie made about the events of the past 24 hours be ready in time for a December release and Oscar season, or will we have to wait another year for it?
Actually, the question is, what is the responsibility of the media in a situation like this? To get the word out about things like the lockdown, keeping people safe? To report on actual facts? To get as many viewers as possible by throwing out wild speculations and interviewing the alleged suspects’ former mailman? To make people crazy and worried? All of the above? All I know is that trying to keep up with what is going on is exhausting, and probably far more so for the people of Boston, who are clearly more scared and worried than I am, and are having to watch the same national news outlets as me. Sorry guys. Hope your local news is a bit more helpful. And stay safe.