Most of us are watching in horror as the latest acts of terrorism unfold in Boston.
Our systems have, once again, been shocked by heinous acts of violence. Bombs exploding at the Finish Line of the Boston Marathon have claimed the lives of at least 3, one of them an 8-year old boy, wounded over 144, and captured the attention of the world via global media outlets.
How we’re doing in the aftermath of this most recent atrocity depends on how close we are to the epicenter. Those who lost loved ones are experiencing their first moments in hell. Residents, people living in surrounding areas, spectators or those who had loved ones running in the race, are shaken to the core. The majority of Americans and our friends abroad watch TV, read newspapers and scan the Internet with an all-too-familiar sense of horror and disbelief. How could such a thing happen? Again?
Defenseless when death really happens (as opposed to fake homicides on TV and in the movies), kids are re-traumatized. Those who are sufficiently numb, dispassionate, vengeful or indifferent go about their day as though nothing happened. “Business as usual.” And the folks who run around like their “hair is on fire,” catastrophizing, over-dramatizing, commercializing and/or inappropriately drawing attention to themselves act as if the sky is falling.
Regardless where you stand in proximity to the epicenter, or how you cope with atrocities, this is a sad and terrifying day in America. The gruesome images being replayed like falling towers lend no answers to the search for “why?” Nor do the radical pundits on talk radio and TV who seem to feel a good political or moral spin will satisfy. Boston’s bombing presents us with yet another opportunity to bring out the best or worst in ourselves — and one another — as we try to wrap our minds around what our world is coming to and how to reduce the risks that threaten our nation.
Here are a few suggestions for what to do in the aftermath of a tragedy like the one we witnessed at the Boston Marathon. Consider cultivating the very highest and best in yourself over the next several days, weeks and months by doing the following:
1. Hold a kind thought, send your support and say a prayer for those lost and injured, and their families.
2. Take a deep breath, light a candle, take a hot bath and begin to slowly bring yourself through the shock and horror.
3. Talk about how you feel with someone you trust. Express the anger/shock/fear/outrage/sorrow/helplessness/grief you’re feeling.
4. Watch the news to get the information you need — and then turn it off. Do the same with your kids. Don’t O.D. on breaking news.
5. Remain alert, vigilant and rational. Do the things that allow you to feel safe from danger.
6. Help children talk about/deal with/suggest peaceful solutions for the violence and trauma they experienced today.
7. Take constructive action to curb violence in all of its expressions. Do your part to deescalate the hatred and pain.
May the days ahead go gently for all of us, especially those whose loved ones died or who we’re injured. And may we find a way to end the hatred and pain that fuels cowardly, inhuman acts of terror — and find the path that best insures/protects the freedom, safety and the lives we cherish.
Copyright Ken Druck, Ph.D., resilience expert, speaker, consultant, and author of The Real Rules of Life (Hay House). If you like this, please share it.
Photo Credit: David L. Ryan / Boston Globe