Tragedy brings out the best and worst in people

Boston Stronger
Boston people symbolized their unity by taking photographs depicting their solidarity.

By Greg Holden

To the relief of all civilized people, the search for and arrest of the second suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings was accomplished without anyone dying. After an entire day sitting on the edge of our seats, it was time to relax and put events into perspective. In doing so we can see the very best and the very worst of human behaviours. Below is the CKReview’s choice of memorable events over the course of a few days that point to how people cope with challenging times.

The worst: the bombings at the marathon. The horrific scene of blood filled streets, in what is normally a joyous atmosphere, will mark a low-point in humanity for years to come.

The best: emergency responders and private citizens who rushed to the carnage to tend to the wounded and dying. The heroism displayed in the face of personal danger defines how we understand courage and selflessness.

The worst: steps away from where people lie critically wounded and dying, blue and yellow jackets were being looted from an abandon kiosk. Many are now for sale on e-bay.

The best: the people of Boston who co-operated with authorities and shut their city down for the day. Escape became less likely because a lot of people acted with a single conscience.

The worst: media outlets who in haste repeated false news as fact, or interviewed experts who had nothing to share. At a time when people depend on accuracy the most, normal caution was replaced with over eagerness to be first.

The best: media outlets that did research on finding family and friends of the suspects across the globe. The quick dissection of these men’s lives gave readers the background they wanted most.

The worst: conspiracy theorists who blamed everyone but the terrorists for the bombings. Even as reports were clear that a university police officer was shot and killed and bombs used in a getaway, the lunatic fringe tried to blame the US government.

The best: the coordinated effort of an estimated 10,000 law enforcement officials from the FBI, DEA, ATF, State Police, Secret Service, local police and their administration to focus on a shared goal. Without warning they were able to present a solid and unified effort, ultimately securing the safety of the people they are paid to protect.

The worst: social media frauds who quickly opened and closed groups, with screenshots, that purported to have advance information of the bombings. Anonymity empowered some people to mislead others in a time of crisis.

The best: the social media network that put the faces of the suspects in front of everyone. In record speed we all knew the faces well.

The worst: anyone who thought to ask about the alienation of the bombers, especially those doing so while running to lead a G8 country. Justin Trudeau needs to understand people want their security to be placed before the well-being of those who jeopardize it.

The best: seriously injured survivors of the bombing who said they were lucky. While facing the most trying time of their lives, their thoughts were with those less fortunate.

The path from shock, to horror, to anger was swift. Those with an eye for seeing beyond themselves did so, giving brave a new face. Those who saw opportunity to serve themselves did so, ironically rendering only themselves as arbiters of the difference.

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One Response to "Tragedy brings out the best and worst in people"

  1. Tim Labute   April 20, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    Well said!

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