In 2001, my father worked in the DC area, sometimes commuting into the city depending on his work schedule. Obviously nothing happened any nearer than Arlington on September 11th of that year, but in the first couple hours we didn’t really know what was going on. When Seung-Hui Cho shot up the Virginia Tech campus in April 2007, he happened to pick a day when my brother didn’t have any classes. Yesterday, a series of explosions went off just two miles from my office, maiming dozens and killing (as of this writing) three. Terror has stalked my family like a hyena for the last eleven years, for no better reason than that we live on the East Coast.
“They’re trying to kill me,” Yossarian told him calmly.
“No one’s trying to kill you,” Clevinger cried.
“Then why are they shooting at me?” Yossarian asked.
“They’re shooting at everyone,” Clevinger answered. “They’re trying to kill everyone.”
“And what difference does that make?”
- Joseph Heller, Catch-22
In the shadow of a tragedy like this, anger is a frequent response. I’ve already seen it a couple places on Twitter, Facebook, and the like. I understand the temptation: a day like this makes people feel weak. But lashing out blind doesn’t make you strong, especially if you already had the bigger stick. There are better ways to be strong: