It appears two explosives were detonated intentionally at the Boston Marathon today., injuring more than 20 people and killing two more. Reports are coming in of a "third incident" as well. It's a horrible tragedy.
Within moments, a fake Twitter account was setup under the account name _bostonmarathon. This account said it would pay $1 for every retweet toward the victims. For people with a nose for such things, it was obviously a fake–but that didn't stop well meaning people from spreading the account.
First you have people taking intentional action to blow up people. And then you have people preying on the good nature of others for personal gain. It's enough to bring on depression, despair, cynicism and even despondency. When will it stop?
It almost certainly won't.
So are we doomed? Are we really so flawed as a species that we can be defined by our violence? Are we nothing more than murderous primates who crash planes into buildings, set off bombs, shoot school children, operate drones and make war?
Of course not.
We don't know how many people were involved in this plot, but it was a number far smaller than the first responders who rushed in to treat the injured and secure the area in case of further attack. _bostonmarathon is already gone; the Twitter community banded together and reported the account as spam in droves. There may be some who watch these things and laugh as the world burns, but they are a tiny fraction compared to those who's hearts are broken, who pray, and look for a way to help. It is in the moments that all kinds of people draw together, hurt together, and realize that we are more alike than we are different.
It's ok to be sad. It's appropriate to be sickened by this tragedy. But, in these moments I also get hopeful because I see that I am not alone. Most people care deeply for the rest of humanity--even those they do not know.
Hold onto that. As the shock clears there is a temptation to return to labeling ourselves and others, to focus on how we are different. Instead, remember that moment when your heart hurt for people you've never met.
Let's remember that we care for each other. Let's remember that when disaster strikes, some of us run toward the danger to help.
Our heroes are greater than our villains.