I live in Watertown, Massachusetts and these last days have been very trying. From the moment the bombs went off on Monday, I felt fear– and even though I knew my wife was miles away from the marathon (she was meeting a friend in Cambridge), I needed to hear her voice immediately. In the end, we had to settle for a text message. Thursday night, the incident seemed to come straight to my doorstep. While I live about a mile and a half from the shooting, I was up all night as each successive update seemed to bring the bombers closer to my house. The police had closed off the roads and we couldn’t even run if we wanted to. Friday passed slowly as all we could do is listen to hours of reports where no one knew anything new. I nervously cleaned house– if the door to door searchers came here, I didn’t want there to be laundry on the floor. And when it was all over, when we felt safe again, my wife and I went down to Watertown Square to be with the crowds as they cheered on every passing police car. It felt great.
But there were things I overheard yesterday on the news, on twitter, even by my friends that made me uncomfortable. Every time I hear someone talking down– or even feeling threatened by– Islam or muslims, I can’t help but think they could be saying the same about “Jews” or “Catholics” or “Protestants”, all of whom have been the vilified outsider. When people get scared, they fear differences. I need to think on this some more, but I hope that I can find a way to help.