Soon after the explosions, there appeared on the website of
"We need help!" someone cries.
And the videographer whispers three words to himself. "Oh, my God," he says.
He says it again. "Oh, my God."
He keeps saying it, probably doesn't even hear himself, probably doesn't even realize. "Oh, my God."
On a day that will be filled with expert analysis and speculation, in a moment of keening, lamentation and loss, on an afternoon that will require a presidential expression of empathy and resolve, no one will say any words more fitting, more viscerally descriptive than those. They are an entreaty of the Almighty, yes. They are also a susurration of helplessness in the face of stark and awesome evil.
Oh, my God because blood sits on the sidewalk in pools.
Oh, my God because pieces of people litter the streets.
Oh, my God because our nightmares now walk in sunshine.
"We can't do this anymore," a man named
Even if what Kaufman suggests were possible -- and it isn't -- it is not something we could choose. The need to gather is fundamental to the human condition, part of what makes us who we are. So there will always be marathons. There will always be baseball games and Super Bowls. There will always be shopping malls at Christmas. There will always be concerts and movies. There will always be places where people gather to compete, fellowship, laugh, shop, enjoy.
So there will always be opportunities to do to us what somebody did in
Even in grief, this truth proves itself. On street corners, people with glittering eyes and fallen hearts embrace people they do not know. In hospital waiting rooms, strangers lend one another strength. And in churches, synagogues and mosques people gather to seek release from lacerating pain or simply to whisper again and again.
Oh, my God, because nearly 180 people were wounded and maimed.
Oh, my God because three people were killed.
Oh, my God, because an 8-year-old boy will never get to finish the chalk drawing of butterflies and flowers he left in the driveway of his home.
Oh, my God, because sometimes, you just run out of words.
But the 8-year-old
His death, then, is a bitter irony and visceral reminder that we live fragile lives on a fragile planet. And when you come right down to it, all we really have is each other. That's our vulnerability -- and greatest strength.
We are wounded now, yes, Oh, my God. But we stand together. We stand defiant. And we stand with
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