Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Running.

Trigger warning: I'm going to talk about the bombing. There will be no pictures, if that makes a difference for you.

Today, I got up and went running.

It wasn't the smartest thing to do. I haven't been running in weeks, I haven't been in tiptop shape, and I really overdid it.

But I'm totally grateful.

Last night, after promising myself that I wouldn't go looking for graphic images of the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing, I went looking for graphic images of the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing. I always do this, whenever there's a national tragedy. I'm not a ghoul (well, I am a ghoul, but my gleeful celebration of the macabre doesn't extend beyond gory fiction); I just always find myself imagining in the worst things possible. Then I seek out photos to prove to myself that whatever I've imagined is far worse than the reality.

This has never been a successful tactic. Often times, the things I am imagining have a dramatic, Hollywood tone to them. For example, in the aftermath of 9/11, I sought out pictures of the jumpers. Because that was the most horrifying aspect, to me, that fabled rain of bodies the media kept talking about. I went looking for pictures, expecting to see fear and panic on the faces of the people plummeting to their doom. What I saw were grainy photos of tumbling bodies, and some horrific images of pools of blood and torn clothing on the ground. The fact that the reality looked so unreal, that it didn't fit my Hollywood perception of what a disaster should be like, made it even more difficult to cope.

Yesterday, I vowed I wouldn't let that happen again, and yet again I couldn't keep my promise to myself. Those of you who struggle with mental illnesses like depression and obsessive thoughts will understand what I mean when I say I had no choice in the matter; the longer I avoided the news sources, the more graphic and morbid my thoughts became. And even though I knew that looking would not make me feel any better, I did. I found pictures of people covered in blood and dust, bodies laying on the ground, first responders checking pulses. There was blood, too, so much of it that it didn't seem real.

And I saw a photo of a young man in a long-sleeved t-shirt, being pushed in a wheelchair by three first responders. And the flesh of his calf was gone. It was just gone. The bone was still there, sticking out surreally from the ragged end of his knee. But the injury wasn't the most shocking thing about that photo. It was his face. He wasn't screaming. He didn't look shocked or horrified or even in much pain. He looked like he was grieving. As though the moment that photo was taken, he was just realizing how his life, his body, had been irrevocably changed. That only minutes before, he was standing, or walking, that he had the ability to stand and walk. That only minutes before, he had legs.

I don't know if he was a runner. It's hard to tell, from his clothing. Maybe he was a spectator, cheering on a friend. Maybe he was thinking, "Gosh, [friend/relative/partner] is so crazy, I can't believe anyone would do this to himself," in the gentle way we non-marathoners think about our marathoning friends. Maybe he had dreams of qualifying one day, himself.

My husband tried to comfort me by reminding me about prosthetics and physical therapy. All I could think about was the time table involved in that. It isn't like this guy is going to go home tomorrow with a new plastic leg and life will be normal. It's going to take weeks of surgeries and rehabilitation to walk again. Not to mention the life-long mental devastation of being the victim of an act of terror and forever being branded "that guy with his legs blown off in that photo."

So, when I got up today, I decided I would run. Not because I could change anything that happened, or because I thought I was doing something supportive or helpful or anything like that. It wasn't a prayer or "sending energy," it was my own selfish expression of how grateful I am to have legs. And, again selfishly, I hoped that if I could appreciate the fact that I can still run, I would forget that picture, and that man's gray, mournful face. That I could actually outrun what I had seen.

I don't know if that man died. Traumatic amputation is one of those things very Hollywoodized in our minds as a survivable injury. But often, it's not. That man could be dead now. He could be alive.  I don't know. But that picture, and the expression on his face, are going to be in my memory forever. I can only imagine how affected the people on the scene were, the kind of images they will try to outrun. For the rest of us, maybe rather than seeking out more about the tragedy, more speculation, more rumor, more graphic images, maybe we should protect ourselves. Be good to ourselves. And never stop appreciating how fragile our lives are, and how quickly everything can change.

"Far better it seems to me, in our vulnerability, is to look death in the eye and to be grateful every day for the brief but magnificent opportunity that life provides." - Carl Sagan

53 comments:

  1. Thank you for this post.

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  2. I decided last night that my faith in humanity was gone and it wasn't coming back. Not only had we experienced another act of terror from unknown source, but we as Americans decided it was an appropriate time to pull out our political agenda cards. Who needs to grieve when we should be using that oppurtunity to blame the president, arbortion activists, the NRA, Muslims, the Middle East, etc.

    Thank you for your words. I really needed this today.

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    1. I hope the compassion that poured out after the tragedy helped with your faith in humanity. I saw the horrible images but I also saw those running towards the blast when it happened, those who helped the victims who weren't being paid to do it. Those who gave food to the survivors and offered up there homes to complete strangers. There is more good in the world it just that the bad get etched in our minds because it is so horrible.

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  3. I was having the same thoughts last night. these people have months of physical healing ahead. who will watch their children? are they far from their hometowns? Can their marriages or relationships survive the strain of such a stressful long term medical consequence? It's just heartbreaking. it's a very tough time to be a parent in america. it seems we're losing children in tragic ways left and right.

    What i focused on in the video was how quickly, without hesitation, people in uniform ran TOWARDS the blast. rather than losing my faith in humanity, i am overwhelmed by how awesome those people are. it's probably why mr. rogers tells us to look for the helpers in tragedies.

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    1. I agree with you, but there's also something else. (Some of) the injured people will have months of physical healing ahead... and a lifetime of trying to heal the psychical trauma. It's worth thinking also for all these hours of psychotherapy which they'll need... and how not everybody will be able to afford it...
      I'm not from the US, so I don't know if there are free/cheep consultations after this kind of events... but I really hope there are.

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  4. Luckily, I don't have any problem avoiding the graphic pictures. And marathon runner I was absolutely crushed when I heard what happened, then I was pissed. Don't mess with MY sport in MY college town, and the spectators? You're not even fucking with the runners, but our family and friends?!
    When some loser decided to tests a country's resolve, it would probably be unwise to fuck with a group of people who run 26.2 miles for the hell of it.

    People, especially my husband, often tell me that I should.not be so "helpful"- I keep all sorts of supplies in my truck in case of emergency, but I usually jaw them for someone elses emergency. I've changed dozens of tired for both men and women, I've given away several gallons of gas to stranded motorists from a full gas can on my truck, and yes, I once almost drove into the middle of a murder scene to offer help (guy shot his wife to death and wrecked the car) but seeing that the guy was presumably already running to the gas station 2 blocks away and did not stop when I pulled up, I drove on. Would it have been a tragedy had I dropped him and he.shot me? Well, yeah, but what of the tragedy that I live my life afraid to help where I can?

    Any of us could be killed or maimed in the blink of an eye in a terror attack, a car wreck, an unexpected heart attack, or some freak accident., and that would suck so don't let it stop you from living your life today.

    As the Dread Pirate Roberts says "Life is pain." Feel for the victims, pray, give blood, offer support, volunteer, whatever you want to do, but DON'T BE PARALYZED IN FEAR!

    There are still over a dozen people in critical condition, and any great tragedy, be it man made or nature, will leave these types of casualties, and I ran today, and I will run tomorrow, and I will run another big crowded marathon because fuck these assholes! They aren't terrorists if we done let them terrorize us!

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    1. I know someone whose brother is running in the upcoming London marathon. She's afraid for him, but he refuses to not participate. He earned this! And she, their mom, his girlfriend are going along to support him, just like they had all planned, despite their fear.

      The why and how of these tragedies exist in states of half-knowns and speculation. What definitely is known is that if we let fear dictate our behavior and how we live our lives, then those responsible have won, their mission has been accomplished.

      Thank you for driving this point home, through both your words and actions.

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  5. Jenny - thank you for this. Being someone who is battling severe OCD ever since I was a teenager, I know EXACTLY what you mean. Pure O can just take ahold of you at any time under normal circumstances but during times of tragedy, it's almost like the obsessions have free reign on people like us. And I still have not totally recovered (as many of us haven't) from Newtown.

    But so far, I have been able to avoid most of the gruesome stuff from the marathon but I had a "voice" in my head today - "Why don't you check it out? If you don't check it out, that must mean you don't care about what happened" or whatever variation of the lies the disease tells me. But instead of searching for images, I came to your blog and found this entry - thank you so much! I feel like it was divine intervention!! It gave me the strength to avoid searching out the tragedy. I know you are struggling, but be happy to know that you really helped someone out today!! Thansk again for being so open about your mental health issues - it really helps out people like me :o)

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    1. Wow! Your comment really made something click with me! I was totally feeling guilty, too, for not looking up images because I think it means I don't care about what happened. And now I realise that is exactly as stupid as my voice reason thinks it is. Thank you for your comment!

      And I very much agree with the feeling of being grateful to be alive and able to walk and exercise.

      xxx
      Deidre

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  6. Amazing piece. Well-spoken and insightful, as you always are. The Sagan quote gave me chills as well.

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  7. I also saw those pictures, by accident while browsing Reddit. And because I had seen those pictures I had to know what happened to the people in them. If the comments are to be believed, then he survived. A Facebook friend of him reconized him and posted updates.

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  8. I went looking for the photos very soon after hearing about it. I didn't even bother trying not to. I always look at gruesome photos because I'm curious. I'm curious about what it looks like, I'm curious about the medical aspect of the injuries, I'm curious about how or if it will make me feel something. If I'm a ghoul then it's my own shame, I do it in private and I'm only looking at something others are putting up. Yes, I seek it out, but that's because I know it's there. I just can't resist looking.

    The man you are talking about also stood out to me. The look on his face shook me up, even if I can't quite tell what it means.

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  9. I have a friend who survived the 24/7 blasts in London - she was on the carriage directly in front of the Underground bomber at Baker Street. She still lives with the trauma; and has coped by doing several advanced First Aid courses, because she will never forget having to step around injured people in that dark, horrible tunnel. My heart goes out to all of you - not just those directly affected, but those traumatised and grieving about the callous disregard of this terror attack.

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    1. It was 7/7. Sorry to have to correct you.

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  10. I have to do this, too. Like last year when the guy in Florida went crazy and ate the homeless man's face, I made myself look up those photos to stop my brain from making shit up. It was actually not as bad as my imagination came up with.

    So, surprisingly, this works for me.

    I saw the photo you described of the man in the wheelbarrow and the ground—the ground was just saturated with blood—and it finally sunk in. Usually, I can't accept the awful thing that's happened until I see the aftereffects.

    My family and I were talking about the Oklahoma City bombing while we were watching the news coverage of Boston, and my dad talked about the photos we remembered seeing on the news. Like the one of the fireman cradling the bleeding baby. When I was a kid, that picture let me know that what I was seeing was real and it really happened. So, yeah. Perhaps it's because of how graphic the images are that let me accept what happened.

    That's my two cents.

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  11. I have a very evasive personality, so my first instinct when this sort of thing happens is to disconnect, to avoid it, to pretend it didn't happen or that life goes on just fine. I slip into denial like a comfortable pair of shoes, and then I feel awfully guilty that I'm too cold and callous, that I should be devastated like everyone else.

    So thank you for this post, so I can cope a little better with stuff like this.

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    1. I'm kind of the same. One thing I've learned (from past experience) is how to tell what my limits will be. Sometimes, I ignore these limits, thinking that there is an important enough reason to do so (I personally can do something about it). However, if there's nothing I can do, I'm going to listen to that instinct, even while another part of me is saying "but doesn't that mean you don't care?" Obviously, as Jenny and others have said, this isn't always an option, but a compulsion, but I am so thankful that I have that ability. When Newton hit, I experienced the side where I didn't control it well, and I didn't deal with it well - so I will listen to my instincts from now on, even though I'm always worried that people will judge me as being uncaring because of it.

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    2. @Kelsey: That's really good advice, thank you.

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  12. When I was running at the gym this morning, this is what I was thinking about too. Thank you for this post.

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  13. I was at the event cheering on my father in law, this was the pinnacle of his running life.

    This is going to sound terrible but I'm glad that the photos are out there and the videos. It's slightly easier to bear how fucked up I feel inside having been there knowing how utterly sincere "outsiders" horror is at what happened, that it isn't being sterilized. Not that I blame anyone for not looking; just that if they do look, they'll get the truth.

    Whenever I feel weepy and angry I close my eyes and force out all of that blood and gore from my mind and focus on the people who helped, on the city full of people who opened their doors to people who needed a place to stay, to all of the humanity going on in the wake in a few terrible moments of inhumanity, to my gratefulness that I was not at the wrong place at the wrong time.

    This was an excellent post, Jenny. Boston, Bostonians, and everyone witness and victim to what happened yesterday needs as much support as they can get.

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    1. Good ol' Mr. Rogers always has the right words.

      http://entertainment.time.com/2013/04/16/the-backstory-the-moving-mr-rogers-clip-everyone-is-talking-about/

      I'm so sorry you were there, and that this happened at all. It doesn't sound at all terrible that you have a need to know others who weren't there feel so that you don't feel so alone. You're a human going through trauma, and each person who does will have different needs, and as long as you aren't out there beating someone up, then your needs can't be wrong.

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    2. I am so sorry that this happened. I hope you can be exceptionally gentle to yourself while you heal from this.

      But I have to know... was your father-in-law able to finish the race? It sounds silly, but that's one of the things, after the horrific injuries and loss of human life, that really bothers me. People didn't get to finish.

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    3. Thank you both. I'm trying to treat myself the way I'd treat a best friend who went through this.

      Jenny, my father in law did finish and he set a personal record (he wasn't a charity runner but rather a qualifier from a previous marathon) which is almost unheard of for the Boston Marathon because it is so difficult of a course. He was in happy disbelief over it and we were cheering near the finish line while he got cleaned up and changed out of his race gear. We did see tons of racers who finished and I lost count of how many children I saw wearing their parents finish medals.

      I know what you mean about that aspect bothering you... my first jumbled thought when I saw a limb was "but they need that to run". As it's sunk in the fact that it was a marathon and they did this has been quite emotional.

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    4. My friend, who is 62, was less than half a mile from the finish when the bombs went off, and while I know it's kind of petty considering the loss of life and horrific injuries, it's the kind of personal thing that's really getting to us. It's such an achievement to complete a marathon, and while we're grateful he wasn't that tiny bit faster that would have put him on the scene, there's that level of personal resentment that's hard to shake.

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    5. I had two close friends running in the race and they were 2 blocks from the blast. As soon as they made sure that their two children were safe, my friend ran to help others as he is an EMT. I just can't even begin to imagine what they went through.

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  14. I know which photo you're talking about. I've seen several angles of that man, including on the ground. He's been confirmed as a survivor. That doesn't make much difference because, for all we know, he'll wish he hadn't. Maybe he'll be fine, we don't know. I posted to Facebook that we always seem to lump people into categories of died or alive and place tragedies in order of how many died when the sad fact is living can sometimes be worse. If you lost your limbs and your face, you're a survivor, but are you better off? We really need to give more weight to the lifelong injured.

    The hardest picture for me so far had no blood. It was of a man with a child of maybe six in front of him. The man was looking around obviously confused and in shock, and the child had wide eyes with tears running down her cheeks. Her mouth wasn't screaming. She look liked someone have jumped out and yelled "Boo!" at her and she hadn't yet realized it was her favorite relative. She stared around, taking it all in, probably not truly understanding it all yet, yet understanding enough that she silently cried.

    I read a long debate last night on Facebook over whether or not these pictures should be published. On the one side were a few people who said let the people have their privacy, and on the other, the side I'm on, are those who say we shouldn't ignore the horrors of what happens and cocoon ourselves in a false idea that it can't be that bad. Every day overseas in war zones things like this happens, and for many people here, we can't fully grasp it until it happens to those we see as our own. If we're going to be desensitized in some way, better that be to the truth than out of ignorance. But I don't think we can ever truly be desensitized to devastation, only learn to handle it, and hopefully be changed for the better in some way. I know several people renewing vows to be blood donors, and some who donated today for the first time. Out of tragedy comes the blood that may save more lives than were lost and injured, perhaps lives that wouldn't have been saved if not for the blood people now are giving because there isn't always more.

    I can handle the blood and the gore. What my heart can't handle is when people are actively hurting. As I see it, the man with his legs gone will feel it in the coming days, and I hurt for him living the last days of probably still thinking it's going to be all right, he's going to wake up from the nightmare any time now. But I can only let myself feel for so many at a time. Yesterday it was for that little girl and those who weren't injured but were clearly being traumatized by what was going on. Today it's for the families of those who died. Tomorrow it'll probably be for the families of those who will suffer lifelong injuries and those not sure if their loved ones will pull through. Then those whose bodies have been permanently altered without their consent who are starting to realize that this isn't a nightmare in their heads, but the reality. Forcing myself to slow down is the only way I can personally handle it.

    And then

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    1. And then I feel like pure and total shit for thinking about having to slow it down so that I, who am lucky to not have been there and who lost no loved ones, can handle it when others were there and were hurt and died. But the truth of it is we, people like you and me, have to do what we have to do to not break down ourselves. That would help no one and only concern those who love us. We have to do what we have to do to cope because we still feel and we still love and we care deeply and have empathy.

      Sometimes a way to do that is to look it right in the face, to not let the injured and killed remain faceless bodies, but to put eyes and noses and mouths to them, to hurt a little more upon staring into their eyes to get over the hump of pain we feel so we can go back to being there for our own families and loved ones who continue to need us.

      You're not a ghoul, nor am I, or anyone else who looks out of some not-completely-understandable need. We're all humans coping with a tragedy that can never make sense.

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    2. I've heard some of the arguments against publishing unaltered photos of these events. I thought, you know, it would suck to find out my kid had been severely injured in a terrorist attack because I saw a photo of it. As our media has changed from "we'll see it on the news at 6," to "We'll see it literally seconds after it happens," I think we're going to have to find some kind of middle ground.

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    3. Which is exactly what happened to the family of the man in that photo. I think the middle ground is to blur out faces for 24 hours. For people who haven't reached their loved ones by then, the only way they might find out may be photos, but until then, let them find out in better ways.

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/17/jeff-bauman-amputee-photo_n_3100418.html?utm_hp_ref=mostpopular

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  15. I do the same thing, but for different reasons. I tend to stop after the first few though. I actually saw that picture you're talking about on FB, after I'd stopped looking. Someone had posted it with some commentary about the horribleness of the bombing. It was a little disconcerting to run across that in my morning facebooking, which usually involves art and baby pictures and beautiful landscapes, not gruesome tragedies. I wanted to comment on it and tell them I wish they wouldn't post stuff that disturbing on facebook which really has no way to hide photos so people randomly scrolling their newsfeed aren't confronted with it unexpectedly.

    Oh, and I also found his face particularly...shiver-inducing. It helped a little to tell myself that he was probably in shock and couldn't actually feel the pain at the moment. I hope.

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  16. I see someone already said the man survived. I was going to post that. His father spoke about him and confirmed the man did of course lose both his legs.

    I don't look for photos and videos of things like this. I avoid them at all costs. I was angry with Time Magazine for the cover photo of people jumping from the World Trade Towers. I find it all extremely sensationalized and disrespectful.

    Boston is a very special place to me. I love that city and have since the first time I visited when I was 13. I decided then I was a fan of the Red Sox and the Celtics. Wade Boggs played on the Elmira Pioneers, which was my hometown AAA Red Sox farm team. I'm angry and sad and disgusted by all of this. Senseless, pointless, useless and evil. I don't need to see it to know those things.

    I'm sorry those photos made you feel worse, but it sounds like they also had a cathartic effect, which is a positive, at least. Keep running and never take for granted what you can do.

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    1. I'm so relieved to hear that he lived. The people that were on the scene and were able to think quickly enough to start tying off tourniquets amaze me.

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    2. The heroes in these situations make me feel less like wanting to retreat entirely from the world.

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  17. I also clicked on graphic images from the bombing, despite knowing it would be a bad idea. The one picture that really stuck with me was of the same man you described. I also noticed his expression and thought he must have been in shock. I've been thinking about it ever since I saw it.

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  18. So this may or may not have much bearing on the emotional aspect of this event but I just thought I'd throw my 0.02 in. I work with athletes with disabilities, with Paralympians actually so they're the best of the best. Traumatic injury is, to put it bluntly, my bread and butter. If there's one thing I've learned over the years it's that the ability to rise above something completely shattering and life changing is completely beyond what we can comprehend unless we end up there ourselves. I know people who competed in events 12 months after they'd lost a leg in a motorcycle accident. I know people who have travelled the world's far flung corners despite having no feeling from the chest down after diving in water that was too shallow. I know people who have won gold medals in front of 80,000 screaming fans after losing their leg to childhood cancer. I know many, many people who have picked up the pieces and gone on to live, love, marry, have kids and do everything they would have done despite horrific circumstances that we think would have us broken. I feel desperately sorry for that gent in the wheelchair or anyone else with major injuries but if there's anything I can offer in the way of a salve it's that if he chooses to he can overcome this. Not only that, he can overcome it and inspire others as he does so.

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    1. I'm glad you mentioned this. Yes, the bombing was horrible, but that man will get on with his life and he'll most likely end up feeling lucky to be alive. Losing a limb isn't the end of the world. People with physical disabilities like that rate their life happiness as high as "able-bodied" people if not higher. The transition can be hard, but they push through. To act like losing a limb is this big, huge deal and like his life is half over now is kind of fucked up.

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    2. Second anon, the point of my post wasn't that his life is over because he lost his legs. The point was that his life and the lives of everyone in the city that day have been impacted in a way that they never should have been because someone wanted to blow people up. I don't believe I ever said that his life was half over or that he would never go on to be as happy as an able-bodied person.

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    3. I completely with "second anon". Seriously Jenny, this comes across as a very self-serving post with no respect for this horribly injured person. So sorry you are such an obsessive and depressed person, and regardless of that this hero will go on to live a far better life than you have so confidently laid out for him. Grow up and start thinking of others before yourself when writing about topics such as this.

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    4. 1. Throwing someone's mental disorders in their face because you don't like what they're saying is a pussy ass move and I am calling you on that shit. 2. We do not know this person. How he choses to cope or not cope is not our business and speculating about it, no matter which end of the spectrum you've placed him, is tasteless all around.

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    5. I was the OP on this and my intention wasn't to, as Jenny said, say that this guy's life is over and I didn't see that in the original article either. It's true, nobody should 'have' to cope with having their legs blown off in a bombing, it's still a big fucking deal. I was just trying to relate what I've seen as potentially something positive coming out of a massive negative.

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    6. 1st Anon, I think it was pretty clear that your intention was to be hopeful about human resilience. And the world needs a lot more of that after this week.

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    7. Wow, ok, I'm "second anon' and I don't agree with what Parker said. Way out of line! I also appreciate your reply Jenny. Sometimes it's hard to tell what's implied in a piece of writing. I thought the, life being half over, and the like was implied by the post, and by some people's comments. It bothers me when able-bodied people talk about a physical disability like it's this ultimate horror. I'm sorry I read that into this post. I just think people should be careful how they talk about physical disability. I could see this post and some of the comments being taken the wrong way in disability rights, etc, courses I've taken or by disability rights activists.

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    8. If it helps you to understand my position any better, second anon, I've been battling the progressive loss of my ability to walk since 2008. I've been officially diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, but I'm currently seeing a doctor who believes I was misdiagnosed and actually have MS, hence the gradual worsening of my mobility. There are days when I can walk- even run- and days when I have to use a cane or a walker, and I'm facing the inevitability that I will soon be in a wheel chair. So while I understand logically that people can live full, active, and healthy lives without being able to walk, I'm kind of feeling all of these emotions from a place of someone who isn't over that transition yet. If it comes off as ableist or like I'm pitying someone for something that isn't that big a deal, it's only because I'm sitting here thinking, "That guy doesn't deserve to lose his legs and go through this," while continuing to blame myself for my own disability. I'm not offering this up as a way to be like, "I have note! I can be ableist because I brought a note from home!" but just to try and explain a little bit more why that "ultimate horror" implication regarding loss of physical ability may have come across in my post.

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    9. Second anon again here. Thanks for the response Jenny. That definitely helps me understand this better, and probably will help Parker too, not that you care what she/he thinks. It really explains that aspect of this post that I was uncomfortable with. I'm so sorry you're going through this. I wish you all the best. I'm also sorry for assuming you're perfectly fine and healthy, that was a wrong of me to assume in the first place. I truly understand this post a lot better now.

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  19. Someone may have already said this but first I want to tell you that he is still alive and his father has said he will live, but obviously things are difficult them right now.

    Now I did the same thing as you did, but on top of that I looked for the good people. Last year I almost died (well technically I died twice) but was saved by some quick thinking people, EMTs, firefighters and good doctors who saved me from losing my own legs. It took me a year to recover and I'm still working on it, although I relearned how to walk, things will never be the same. I saw these people who were injured, saw the news reports on those who were injured and I mourned the loss of the lives and the time in those people's lives that they will lose while recovering. I know exactly how you feel and I wish I could go back to my hometown (Boston) and just hug people, and normally I hate being touched.

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  20. A couple of things I want to say.
    First of all we need to take something from this horror and do something in our neighborhoods for others less fortunate. This afternoon I am doing my monthly visit with my garden club to a nursing home where we help residents put together some crafty technique and then when that is done we play bingo. These people never have anyone visit them and enjoy that we spend time with them.
    Then I am coming home to work on some flower oriented purses that we are going to sell at our May plant sale that funds scholarships for local kids that are going into hort. and environmental studies. We have raised enough to give out $i3,000 in scholarships and our group has only 74 members. We also give out donations all year round to local charities.
    This gets ME through horrible things like what happened monday, call it my anti-negative vibe thing that for me puts some positive energy into the atmosphere to counteract the negative.
    I think that's why you went out and ran Jen. I understand why you had to do that.
    But lets turn this around and think of were we can all do something nice and positive for people in our lives, or in our communities.
    I don't believe in god or an afterlife so I do as much as I can everyday to be nice to people and help people if I can, because it makes your life as well as theirs better. We will always have bad things happening all over the world, it might be senseless violence or something uncontrolable like the weather. It is how we deal with tragedy that makes us better people. To see everyone helping each other on Monday should make us realize that for every asshole, there are more people out there that are good.

    Next I would like to ask if anyone has seen a movie called The Four Lions. My son and I just watched it last weekend and it is a VERY dark comedy but now scary in how closely art can imitate life. When this happened Monday we both looked at each other and said the movie was no longer funny at all.

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  21. I have a disorder that allows me to "Check Out" when bad things happen. It started with 9/11 and has grown into a serious condition with each passing bad event. I have to unplug the tv and the computer, give my lap top, my kindle and my cell to my husband. I cannot handle the immediate reporting of any large scale horrors. It takes me a few days to be able to read about it, and even longer to talk about it. I lived in NY during that time and worked very close to the bombings. Thru my office window I saw both towers fall, and I couldn't move from that image. My co-worker had to grab me and take me to the break room. THere I was met with the news reports and a lot of crying people. So needless to say, I refuse to even try and give in to the media (and other sources) until I can watch and read with a certain detachment that won't send me in a tail spin towards the under the covers crying with thoughts of self harm position. I grieve with the people, families and loved ones who were harmed. I just can't see it or talk about it. Self harm is such a hard thing to deal with, especially when you lead yourself to believe the ONLY option is to take yourself out, that way you won't be subjected to anything ever again. In a few days, I will plug in the tv again and begin working my way back to "Normal" In the mean time, I continue to pray and hope those affected by this nonsence find peace.

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  22. Augh, man, I know what you mean...about the obsessive thoughts and the depression. It's some kind of weird knee jerk reaction for me to try to find things that I know will be horrible and upset me. If I'm not feeling depressed or anxious, there is some little shithead part of me somewhere that needs to make that the case.
    I have been feeling really affected by this whole thing, too, and for the same reasons you described. Their lives are changed forever, in some regard, and because of what? It's not like they were going somewhere dangerous, where they could have had even the slightest idea that something bad could happen. They were going to run in a marathon. Why on earth would anybody ever think they would have to worry about that? I just feel so disgusted and saddened by the whole thing.

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  23. I just wanted to comment and let you know that Jeff is definitely still alive and has actually been helping with the FBI investigation.

    The one thing I've been focussing on during this is the amazing response of emergency personnel, bystanders in the area, and helpful folks throughout the world. I've been following the live Reddit thread, and I've seen people pouring airmiles and hotel points out to stranded runners and families, offering places to stay or charge phones, a huge group of internet folks were buying pizzas for hungry people left without wallets (many bags were at the finish line for the runners or abandoned as people ran), and even people who ran down to help sort bags and get them back to people. Lots of blood donations, money donated to LimbsForLife, RedCross, and the Boston Children's Hospital. Plenty of people ran directly towards the blast immediately in order to help with triage, and volunteers further up the road helped clear tables and water bottles so Ambulances could get in.

    All in all, those assholes who caused this can't overshadow all the good that people did that day and since. I have the same issue with obsessively looking at gore, and despite the fact that I can't run because of a disability of mine, I feel totally lucky to be able to feel and walk with my legs at least. Try to remember that as much as a few people are violent and cause this tragic harm, there are way more who are good and kind and like kittens. And ain't no power in the 'verse can stop that!

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  24. So the picture in question has appeared on my facebook tonight.... and now i can say, i see what you mean....

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  25. So the picture in question has appeared on my facebook tonight.... and now i can say, i see what you mean....

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  26. I avoided most of the pictures of the bombings. The first picture I saw was of a 78-year-old man who was knocked over by the blast and then got right back up to finish the race. He was fine.

    The second was of an acquaintance of mine being carried away from the bomb site while her daughters screamed at the photographers to stop taking pictures. I hadn't known that family was even at the marathon, but at least I found out about that right along with confirmation that they were all alive.

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  27. I don't usually comment on things but this is something I feel really strongly about. I just want to say that I completely understand what you're feeling. And I don't know if anyone else has this weird desire to know about things from other people's perspectives like I do, but I'm going to say what it was like from my view that day. My college roommates, my fiance and I were all about half a mile from the finish line cheering on runners - we didn't even know anybody running in it, we just wanted to support them. We cheered so much and so loud so many people who were walking when they got to us heard us say "You're so close! You can make it!!" and then they would start running again. Then we got news about what happened but nobody really knew what that meant. Was it a gas leak? Was it an accident? How close to the finish line? Was anybody hurt? We kept on cheering because people were still running. Then more and more of the runners were stopping on the sides of the course to check their phones and make calls and we knew bad things had happened. We heard there had been a second explosion and shortly after a police officer told us to go home. But we stayed longer because people were STILL running - they had come this far, they weren't going to stop now. But then another officer demanded that we go inside and we went in and turned on the news and we learned how many people were known to be hurt and at the time 2 were known to be dead. We called our family and friends in the area to make sure everyone was ok, but we had to use Google Voice because the phone lines were jammed from everybody in the city calling each other. My best friend was supposed to be at the finish line cheering and she got called into work... I can't believe how much of a miracle that is. Then we were locked down and we couldn't go outside. Some people who live in my building were locked out because they couldn't go to the front door on the street since it was closed off. Luckily, we called them to see if they were ok and let them in the back. Then my roommate pointed something out to me that made me feel like absolute shit..... We were cheering people on to the finish line to get attacked. We had been cheering for a good 2 hours before it happened; so many people we had inspired to keep running were there when it happened... We have no way of knowing if some of the people who were hurt and/or lost limbs were people we pushed to keep running.

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