As I sat Monday, hard at work procrastinating on a pile of economics homework, I began to see posts, tweets and statuses about Boston — breaking news accounts, calls for prayer, donations and reflection.
My curiosity got the best of me and I searched the daily news. What I saw was terrifying. The past months have been full of relentless violence, and now another horrible act to add to the gruesome list: two explosives detonated near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three and injuring scores more.
Sadly, news of attacks, shootings, rapes, assaults and other acts of heartbreaking violence has become the norm.
Even though I was heartbroken and disgusted to read about Boston, I wasn’t shocked.
But that’s all wrong, isn’t it? We shouldn’t expect people to hurt people because they can; we shouldn’t see business as usual when women are raped and children are hurt; we shouldn’t assume that violence is inevitable.
Last summer I was babysitting my young niece and she asked me why people do bad things. I thought for a few minutes, but failed to come up with an answer.
Now, as I reflect on the seemingly relentless violence that surrounds us, I think the answer has something to do with a lack of sympathy.
I’m as guilty as anyone about passing snap judgments on things or people I don’t understand, but maybe it’s behavior like this that leads to violence — behavior that seems harmless enough, but which leads to devastation when its large-scale practice leads sick individuals astray.
Today, a majority of people refuse to view the world through any other lens than their own. There’s something powerful to be said about taking a minute to understand your neighbor, a process of reflection many people neglect.
Even though the news seems to be nothing but bad and the world we live in seems to have abandoned its humanity (or embraced it, in the darkest way), it is important to state, definitively, that hope is not lost. Evil has not triumphed until good people accept violence and become indifferent to it.
When people stop shedding tears for their fellow humans and allow their hearts to be hardened, then the violence wins. However, the mere fact that my social media was flooded with posts of concerns and requests for prayer following the bombings prove that people still care about one another.
If you ignore the overwhelming noise of the bad, you can hear the quiet whispers of the good, even if it’s through something as minute as a Facebook post.
Even though there was evil in Boston, millions of people shared sympathy, prayer and support. There was evil, but there wasn’t apathy. Not just yet.
—Amber Estes is a sophomore from Athens majoring in public relations