Today we woke up to news of the West, TX plant explosion in which it seems is going to be more tragic in terms of loss of life and damage. My husband commented that compared to the bombings, the plant explosion looks like it's going to be worse, so why does the bombing seem so much worse. Both are tragic, without a doubt, with (last I heard) firemen and first responders missing in West, TX.
When there is a plant making things like fertilizer with dangerous chemicals, there is an inherent risk at all times that explosions and fires can happen. People are somewhat prepared for that. We live not far from Texas City, TX which is filled with oil refineries, and where several deadly explosions have happened. It is sad, but it is not out of the ordinary.
Bombings, however, create a lasting fear of the unknown in people. We are extraordinarily lucky that we live in a country where this is rare since many people in many countries live with the reality that bombings occur regularly. Nevertheless, the fear is strong and scary because we aren't sure who or what we should be afraid of, especially in this age when large amounts of information spread quickly via social networks, internet and TV. Much of the initial information that went viral following the bombings turned out to be incorrect or just plain false. That's dangerous because it's nearly impossible to erase that once it's out there. There are far too many people in this world who believe something just because it's on the internet posted by someone with a knack for persuasive writing and lack of actual facts.
The bombings have broken our sense of security and safety in attending large, fun events. I'm sure we will all be keeping an eye out for suspicious people and backpacks and whatever events we attend in the near future. We take for granted that we live in a generally very safe country, but this makes us think twice. Surely I'm not the only one who has pondered 'What's next? Will it be in my city?' with a heavy sadness.
The biggest difference between the bombing and plant explosion, though, is that the bombings were done deliberately to hurt innocent people in a gruesome way. The explosion, as far as we know, is just a very tragic accident. No one expects to go to a fun, celebratory event only to have their legs blown apart or their eight year old son murdered.
The effects of this will be long lasting, and none of us will forget just as we won't forget 9-11 or Newtown or the Oklahoma City bombing. It is a sad time indeed, and as a parent it just breaks my heart. I see and feel things differently now that I have kids, and it's beyond heart-wrenching when innocent children lose their lives or are disfigured. We are no more immune or safe from something like this than little Martin Richard's family.
The only thing I can do from way over here in Texas, just like after Newtown, is to send my prayers, donate money and do my best to spread kindness. The people who ran toward the victims to help them when it was uncertain if more bombs were going to explode should be an uplifting model for all of us. There is a great deal kindness and love in the world, and perhaps the best thing we can do for our children, neighbors and friends is to mimic their spirit for acts of kindness are very far reaching.