Once again we see a horrific attack committed against American citizens on American soil. At an event like the Boston Marathon - a tradition that brings together running competitors and their supporters from all over the country - where people test their endurance, strength and determination in a mind-staggering race, no one expected a terrorist event. The latest reports I've seen list three dead and over 140 wounded. It's heart rending. There are also reports of runners who either bypassed the finished line or crossed the finish line and then kept on running to the area hospitals to give blood. That's heart LIFTING.
Within an hour of the detonations there were reporters on various news channels trying to place blame. One reporter even went so far as to connect the bombings to "right wing extremists" and then continued on to connect the bombings to the Republican party and those who oppose new gun control laws. Very shortly thereafter another report said that a Saudi National was in custody and under guard at a local Boston hospital. Everything from basic factual reporting to wild guessing was streaming out of the mouths of pundits, all seeking that sensational spin that would give their network an edge. Give me a break. At times like these it's very important to remember the PEOPLE affected and quit focusing so hard on the advertising dollar. And even as I type this I'm getting emails from various companies or groups claiming to have the absolute necessary training to help prepare for such events. Really?
Let's remember something: their are hundreds of victims as a result of yesterday's attack. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of family members of those victims who are coping with the secondary (if they weren't there) trauma. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of public safety workers - cops, firefighters, EMTs, paramedics and more - who are dealing with response trauma, aftershock, investigation, clean up and more.
Let's remember this too: There are heroes. There are the men and women who wear uniforms who ran TOWARD the event, INTO the attack area in an effort to protect and serve. There are common every day citizens who reacted in uncommon and heroic fashion to assist their fellow citizens without regard for their own safety. Why? BECAUSE THEY COULD.
I watched President Obama's brief statement just after six p.m. eastern time yesterday (the day of the attack). The one thing he said that truly mattered was his statement about how, at times like these, there are no Republicans and Democrats. There is no internal squabbling that divides "us and them" politically. There are only Americans responding to an attack against Americans.
Sure, even in the public safety professions we squabble. Cops versus firemen? You bet. Firehouse versus firehouse? Sometimes. Firefighters versus EMTs? Maybe. County cops versus city cops? It happens. Boston baseball fans versus Baltimore baseball fans? Of course. But not yesterday... and not today... and it shouldn't happen again until we have a strong case for who attacked us and why. It shouldn't happen again until we have those suspects in custody and we can be reasonably certain that those particular suspects can't do this to us again.
THEN we can go back to what amounts to petty bickering as compared to our reaction to the events surrounding the attack and aftermath. Until then, let's remember that we must support and appreciate all those affected, all those who responded and all those who continue, every day, to protect our streets and our way of life.
The thoughts, support and prayers of the Cygnus Law Enforcement Media Group go out to each victim, each victim's family, every first responder and all of the public safety family. Stay safe.