Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Terror

I was disconnecting our too-costly cable yesterday, the five-hundred channels of nothing that we kept around as a pillow of media luxury in the fat years.  As I crated up the top box to return, I turned on broadcast to see if it still worked.

It did.  I almost wish it had not.

There, with the graphics blood red, were the images of Boston.  Smoke and fire, explosions, the runners falling, clutching their shattered eardrums.  First responders, already there, running.  In the smoke, figures flailing, flame-blackened ghosts in tattered clothing.  I switched among the old networks, and they all were the same.

I watched for a while, long enough to feel sick and angry, and to think of my wife and her running.  I've been there at the finish time enough.  Then the data stream started cycling, the same pattern of images, the same vision of horror, repeated and reinforced.  Professional talkers and thinkers appeared, to talk and think about the things that we had all seen.  But there was nothing more to know.

I checked my social media feeds, and they were suddenly brimming with prayers and fears for friends.

There was nothing more I needed to know, nothing that I could not glean later when there was actually more to know.

I shut it all down.  The television?  Off.  The media feeds and apps?  Away from my eyes.

 Lingering over such things feels like a sickness, a sickness that consumes soul and mind with horror.  It is a form of anxiety, this collective gnawing over the unknown and unknowable.  I have succumbed to that in past, because it is so easy to do.  Twenty-four-hour news cycle-profit-driven media and social media both magnify our fear, like we are trapped animals screaming in a steel-walled room.  And fear is the only goal of whatever blighted soul did this monstrous thing.

I drove the little guy to his drum lesson, and then, my smartphone off and forced into the silence of my pocket, I walked and thought and prayed.

Then home, where I prepared dinner for the family.  Then, an evening with my wife, watching Lincoln.

I will not be fear-full.





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