As someone who has run and trained for running events I felt the pain for those runners who were maimed from the Boston bombs, and of course the pain the families of those slain were feeling. It was a sadistic and incomprehensible act.
Reading the news items on the alleged bombers is a tragic read and one that in many ways feels could have been averted. I’m not in any way making excuses for these men. The surviving suspect deserves the trial he will receive.
But digging deeper, I have to wonder what their backstory is? How did these two young refugees become the alleged bombers?
The older brother, Tamerlan Tsvnaev, was quoted in 2009 during an interview before a boxing competition saying, “I don’t have a single American friend. I don’t understand them”, and then voicing his concerns about the excesses of American life.
Is this a young man that is fitting in and feeling a belonging to the city and country he lives in?
Of course the younger brother Dzhokhar’s life was a complete contrast to this, as he showed no signs of having difficulty setting in (Telegraph Group).
So what can happen to people who don’t fit in? They often become disengaged, suffer depression and can exhibit anti-social behaviour. Many will search for like minded groups, often groups of people that are deemed similar, such as the having the same ethnicity or religious backgrounds.
Here in New Zealand, over the years, many disengaged youths joined youth and street gangs, where a sense of belonging and family could be found, a feeling that many had not felt in their own homes, in their schools or in their local community. Others turn to religious groups such as youth groups.
Some of these youth and street gangs have a strict doctrine that differs from the laws of society, with an ‘up yours’ mentality to the common law. Is this what we want, young people feeling disengaged and turning to other ‘families’ who could possibly threaten your own families feeling of safety?
Is it ok not to accept people because they are a different colour to you, share different religious beliefs, or have a different mother tongue to yours?
When will we realise that by looking away, and not welcoming difference, people will disengage, possibly lose their way and turn for companionship to those that may not have their best interest in heart and who are often easy prey for groups who have a chip across their shoulder and actively looking for ‘recruits’ to do their dirty work.
Of course I can’t save the world by my crazy rants and a few possibly misguided paragraphs on empathy toward others. But maybe I can make a difference to even one person by not turning a blind eye to someone else’s grief or loneliness. By accepting people for who they are and who they could be and not by how you might perceive them due to their religion, colour of their skin, their accent or who they love. Yes, it’s possibly idealistic. But which world would you rather live in, one that cares or one where religious doctrines and violent gangs rule the nation?
Make a difference today. Start by smiling to all you come into contact with, make conversation with a stranger who doesn’t look like you, or volunteer your time to support others in need of some extra support. Listen and learn from each other. We all have a story to share, if only someone cared to listen.
As I said earlier, this young 19 year old alleged Boston suspect possibly killed and maimed innocent people, and yes he should be trailed, and I’m not asking here for his sympathy, but all I’m trying to say is to remember the bigger picture of humanity, empathy, and that each and everyone of us is somebody’s child.
Can we make a difference?