I have been very conflicted over the past month regarding the bombings which took place during the running of the Boston Marathon. As a resident of New York City in September of 2001, I fully understand the feelings that accompany an attack which comes out of the clear blue sky: the confusion, the free floating anxiety, the seemingly endless dialogue of just who was involved and directly affected.
I also understand the desire for a quick resolution and a return to normalcy. The baseball season was suspended the week after 9/11 and then resumed with much adulation one week later. I was lucky enough to attend a World Series game at Yankee Stadium that year (in November due to the week off) and I vividly recall how remarkably quiet we all were during the moment of silence prior to the singing of the National Anthem. However once the game commenced we were all consumed by the drama of the game and thankful for the manufactured conflict to distract us from the actual one we were living.
I understand then, that it was this desire for resolution that led to the lockdown of the largest city in New England as the hunt for the perpetrators reached its pinnacle. (Not lost on me was the fact that a game at Fenway was cancelled that night due to the lockdown.)
But I was also a little troubled by the lockdown of the largest city in New England to capture a 19 year boy with no known ties to terrorism.
Understandably, the Boston police and other authorities wanted to shut down this terrorist by whatever means necessary to ensure the safety of the citizens in the city. I’m sure that many in the Boston area and beyond were in full support of whatever means necessary to keep the people safe.
However, what does that mean: safe? To what normalcy are we returning?
The Children’s Defense Fund released alarming statistics this month that show what our children experience Each Day in America. This is not the result of an attack by outside entities or terrorists; this is just the experience of our children every day in our country. Set against this every day backdrop, the events in Boston take on a different pallor to me. Where is our collective fervor and patriotism regarding this attack on our children? Why do we accept that so many of our children are maltreated?
In baseball, the manufactured conflict, the rules are simple: a base runner is either safe or he is out. In life the rules are not so simple. Who is safe and who is out? The capture of terrorists and policies to ensure attacks of this nature do not happen again are critical to our collective safety. However, what policies are in place that keep our children out?
How can we bring the same fervor of the hunt in Boston, to the hunt for leaders and policies that ensure all our children are safe and that none of our children are left out?