The Helping American Spirit

Brotherly Love (1995 TV series)

Brotherly Love (1995 TV series) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” – Fred Rogers.

I wish that I had blogged earlier this week, as I now have two completely different topics I would like to explore. The first is the feeling of brotherly love I have felt in the past week. On Monday, I was moved to tears over the helpers I saw in Boston. So many people were helping each other, from people running toward the bomb sites, to nurses running or biking to work to help the injured as they were brought to the hospitals. On Wednesday, I was again moved to tears by the helpers in West, Texas. The West explosion site photos are as horrifying as the Boston explosion site photos and videos. On Thursday, I spent the day viewing some of our earliest historic sites as a nation, in the Old City section of Philadelphia. While there, I lost my wallet. After a very brief panic, I accepted that there was nothing I could do but report it and cancel my credit cards. The police officer I stopped, on his bicycle, was very supportive and helpful, as were the security personnel at the Bourse, the mall where I knew I last had it. I then went back to the parking garage to give them my information so they could bill me for my parking (and let me out of the garage). This is when I received a Facebook message (which was SOOO cool!) and a phone call from the Philadelphia police. Someone had turned in my wallet. Now, I refuse to say that I was surprised, because I wasn’t. I wasn’t even surprised that not a single cent of the $123 was taken. I have a faith and trust in other people, that most would act the same way I would. Yes, I know I might have been lucky that day, but I firmly believe the odds were with me. The actions of the people in Boston and West reinforce my beliefs in the goodness of mankind.

Which brings me to my second topic, and which is a bit more disturbing to me. Yesterday, and especially last night, I watched in horror as the suspect in the Marathon Bombing was chased around my home state. I am grateful to the National Guard, and the Boston Police and Firefighters, and the EMTs, and the doctors and nurses, and all who helped in the bombing and the capture of the suspect. Yet, somehow, the whole thing does not sit right with me. I am so glad it is over, but it isn’t really. I don’t know exactly what bothers me, but it sits right below the surface. Maybe it is that these boys were tried in the court of public opinion and fear. Somehow it felt like a witch hunt to me. I know all the evidence seems to point to them, and they certainly acted like the guilty ones, but something bothers me about all the partying after he was caught. I, too, am happy he was caught. I, too, rejoice that we are all safe again. But we don’t know the whole story. How much influence did his brother have over him? Were there others involved? Was he coerced into doing what he did? I guess I just can’t wrap my brain around the idea that a 9-year-old can come to this country, in search of a new life with his brother and his parents and other family members, and grow up here like a normal American teen, and then turn into a terrorist and try to kill and hurt so many people. Then, he went back about his life like nothing had happened. He went back to his college and his friends like a normal 19-year-old. All of it just dumbfounds me. He dumbfounds me. But that is okay, because I will never understand the logic in the mind of a killer. But there is something else that dumbfounds me even more, especially in light of all the helping I witnessed this week. I guess the partying really hits me hard, because I imagine how it must feel to this terrified boy to hear hundreds, thousands, of people cheering that he was hunted like an animal, nearly killed, and now has to somehow receive a fair trial.  Just something to consider…


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