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I Will Never Forget Last Week

Greater Boston can finally breathe a collective sigh of relief now that the insane violence of the Marathon Bombing and the subsequent manhunt to find the bombers has reached a conclusion. What happened over the past week was unforgettable, even unbelievable. It's not something I ever expected to see, and it's not something I ever wish to see again.

Deliberate, senseless, aimless violence serves no purpose to any cause and does not belong in my home city, or in the home cities of anyone else on this planet. Senseless violence has no home anywhere on this earth. Anything that can be done to prevent death and destruction of this type should be taken into consideration.

Now that Boston slowly returns to normal, I cannot help but turn my attention to another national disaster that happened last week - one that exceeds Boston's statistics in both death count and level of destruction by far: the explosion at a fertilizer plant in West Texas on Wednesday, April 17, 2013. At this time, the death toll is still unknown but is reported to be at least 14; sixty more are missing; more than 200 are injured; and a four block residential area has been reduced to rubble. Many more blocks were damaged by the fire that spread, and two of the lives lost were those of firefighters. The blast measured 2.1 on the Richter Scale.

Although the cause of the explosion is still unknown, no facts suggest another incidence of domestic terrorism. Over 270 tons of ammonium nitrate was being illegally stored at the facility. Whether it was intentionally detonated is unlikely, but it is irrelevant to those who have been living with the carnage for the last five days. Gone are their homes, their jobs and their loved ones. The process of grieving, rebuilding and coping with their losses has already begun.

The psychological impacts of each event must be taken into account. The psyche of Boston, and perhaps the nation, has been forever changed, but this is something we went through collectively, and something that we can consider to be at least a partial triumph. In the end, a suspect had been caught, and we will all see justice served.

But what is happening to the psyche of West Texas now? What triumph will they have to comfort them? Boston had the FBI with their gadgets to give us pictures, and the manhunt! What culprit can the officials of West manhunt? What federal agency will lend their manpower to guarantee its success? If it was an accident, then who's the bad guy? Do we blame the factory, or the factory worker, or the factory owner, or the chemicals used in the factory to make fertilizer? Do we blame the chemical company that makes the chemicals? Or do we blame the fertilizer? Why are we using explosives to make fertilizer anyway?

I can relate to what happened in Boston. I can remember where I was standing when I heard about the Marathon Bombings. I can remember feeling the horror, the anxiety, the confusion that comes with such news. I can remember feeling confident that the culprit would be caught. In fact, coincidentally, I was practically right there on my drive from work when the first chase took place into Watertown five days later. I can feel resolve. I can feel triumph. I can feel pride in the City of Boston.

I cannot relate to what happened in West. I do not know what it is like to live in a 1.6 square mile city of 2800 people. I cannot relate to losing 4 blocks of where I call home in an instant. I cannot imagine what it is like to lose at least a dozen friends in an instant. They must have felt horror. They must have felt anxiety and confusion. What will give them resolve? What will be their triumph?

- Damian Boyd April 21, 2013


Posted: April 22, 2013 - Nancy Conrad

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