Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Why Terrorism Upsets Me So Much


*This may be upsetting. Proceed with caution.*

I haven't really been able to put this into words before, but I need to try.

I get incredibly distressed anytime one person or a group decides to kill innocent people. I know this about myself, and I know I should stay away from news outlets, keep the TV off, ignore the radio dial, and distract myself with humor. I inevitably feel guilty for trying to get away from it, but the involuntary level of obsession I develop is destructive. I bury myself in humor for my own mental health.

All the while, I'm still thinking about what has happened. I may be curled up on the couch with Spousal Unit to watch Big Bang, but I'm still worrying and upset even as I laugh. And even though I know I should keep the radio off (because if I turn it on, I have trouble going away from it), sometimes I can't help it. I obsess over learning what has happened, imagining how the people involved feel, and who would do such a thing.

My best explanation is that I obsess because I don't understand, and I am desperately trying to.

I've never understood the level of suffering human beings inflict on each other. I don't understand wanting to die or kill for your religion. I don't understand why you wouldn't share the money you have to help those in need. I can't fathom wanting to kill someone because they are different, or because you can't control whatever's going on in your head.

So I try to learn more about what has happened and who has done it, in the hopes that there can be some understanding. At the same time, I know I don't want to know.

My writing skills work against me at these times. Even when I try my best to hide from that unnerving curiosity, I still find myself staring into the distance, imagining what has happened. I imagine the atmosphere of a race's finish line - the sheer elation, coupled with exhaustion. Others around you are just as thrilled, and maybe your family or friends are there. A race is pure joy at the finish line.

Then I imagine what it's like to have that disrupted by death. I imagine, as a runner myself, what it would be like to lose a limb at the end of a race, when you had planned on a celebratory dinner, or sightseeing. I imagine the chaos.

There's no point in me going on. Suffice to say I have an overactive imagination. Except when it comes to destruction.

Edit to add: Good Samaritans at the Boston Marathon. Because destruction like this is caused by very few people. The good, helpful ones are the majority.

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