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ManKind = Oxymoron?

BOSTON BOMBINGIt sure feels that way sometimes. I’ve often pondered the wisdom of the word “mankind”.

Today, we are all Bostonians. Just as we were Newtowners when the school shooting occurred, just as we were New Yorkers when 9/11 hit.

As I’ve grown older, it has become painfully obvious to me that much of mankind is far from kind. For a few years I held that focus, feeling sickened by the man-inflicted cruelties to children, animals, and each other.

But I also began to notice that with every tragedy there was extraordinary goodness. With all the sadness and tears, somehow came glory and triumph. A wretched exchange, to be sure, but a brilliant lining to a very dark cloud.

It’s enough to know that the evil is there. We don’t have to dwell on its presence. It does, after all, make itself known to us sooner rather than later.

I listened as a runner in the marathon said that God’s grace spared her. I reject that. Loudly. To believe that, would be to believe that God had less grace for those who fell victim to the horror. That is not a God that I would follow. It is just by horrible circumstance that these things happen to us. Life is a crap shoot and our control of it is fictional.

The tragedy in Boston is just the latest of a long list of atrocities we, as a nation, have had to bear. We all know it won’t be the last.

It doesn’t stop the wondering. What kind of person could do this to innocent people? What kind of person lives to kill and maim? The reasoning will forever escape good people.

A mind that deals from logic, and a heart that works from love, cannot fathom the objective of such vile acts as the one we saw this week in Boston. There will never be justification for the murder of an innocent child or the maiming of innocent bystanders. We just can’t wrap our heads around it. So instead, we wrap our arms around each other.

I read this morning about Michael Groffenberger, the VP of the nation’s second oldest jewelry store, Shreve, Crump & Low. Just hours after the tragedy, he nailed an American flag to the balcony ledge of his shop because it wouldn’t hold any other way. His silent stand against the carnage that occurred just one block away from his door. I admire his “in your face” thinking. And I also admire what he did next.

He called his staff and made sure that they would show up for work the very next day, when all the other merchants in the small sector would, understandably, be closed. He told them that it wasn’t about business or sales. It was about being open, not allowing the beasts of terror to shut them down. It was about prideful belligerence. I respect that.

And so, once again, we, as Americans, stand united. Stunned, hurt, bleeding, and crying for our dead and wounded. All of us. Together.

We are a wonderfully stubborn lot. We don’t give up, we don’t give in. We do give to one another our love, prayers, a place to stay, a meal, a helping hand, and a shoulder to cry on. We don’t need to know your name to help you. We are a gracious collection of citizens who are quick to donate our money, time and sometimes the shirt off our backs. Americans are stronger than we appear. A lot stronger. I take tremendous pride in that.

I also take a fair amount of pride in knowing that our law enforcement agencies will pursue with a vengeance the vile scum who inflict harm on our citizens.

The perpetrators had better hope that our citizens don’t get to them first.


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Suerae Stein - A wonderful post, Tammy. As always, your way with words gets right to the point and speaks for many of us. Well done and thank you.

Mel Glenn - Dear Tammy,
It’s not a matter of just kind, or its opposite, unkind. It has to do with the nature of evil, which is not discussed here, and really can’t be logically discussed anywhere or understood. The fact that we are helpful, the fact that some people do believe that the avoidance of evil is all in God’s hands, pales in comparison to the eternal question of WHY such blatant evil exists in the world in the first place.
No answer to thatone, so we must believe in its innate opposite: goodness.

Tammy - Suerae, you would think that we would be more accustomed to these acts of terror by now. Perhaps it speaks to our civility that we continue to be shocked, appalled and overwhelmed with grief. And so we go on. I appreciate your kind review and hugely appreciate your comment.

Tammy - Mel, so well spoken. I thought of tackling the subject matter of evil, but it is a never ending barrage of contemplation of leveraging the fair and unfair, the just and unjust, the good the God and the evil. There is probably not a blog on the planet that has the room or the time to delve into it. Maybe it’s better that way. You ask great questions. If only there were great answers. Thank you, my friend, for your visit and your comment. I appreciate both more than you know.

Rick Dean - Tammy, you as always, are so right on! This evil that exists in our world is unfortunately nothing new. History shows this world wide. As you point out, the resolve of our fellow citizens is strong and not acting in terror to the terror acts is necessary. This horrible event also tells me that we cannot let our guard down, ever. As parents we are observant to anything that is within our childrens environment, and so we must be to others. I travel to other countries where there is no hesitation for someone to take action and question something out of the ordinary. The recipients are grateful, not critical. We are, as a society, our brothers keepers and as such need to be strong for each other. Maintain our stregnth and pride and our ability to protect each other. Afterall, our police and others we place before us to protect us, cannot be everywhere, all the time. Our stregnth and protection has been and will continue to be, “We the People”. Thanks for your sharing and caring Tammy.

Tammy - Hi Rick, how lovely to read such a wonderful dissertation. Thank you for that. Not acting in fear takes unspeakable courage for those who were personally affected. I commend them for their trying. Not easy to go out when you feel safer staying in. Succumbing to threat is a prison in itself. You are so very right, we MUST all remain vigilant all the time and forever more. A daunting thought, but doable. It appears that this little fact is our future and may well one day be the difference between life and death. The times…they are a changing. So pleased for your sharing. Wonderful having you here!

Tana Bevan - Yes, there is a lot of cruelty out there. I do not understand it. I have never understood it. And yet, when you make it through the darkest part of the night, the dawn breaks and there is again light. In the end, no amount of darkness can extinguish the light of a single flame.

Rather than wondering what your single flame can do, focus on keeping your flame alive. Your simple quiet action will inspire others, who in turn will inspire still others. With time the light will grow. There will be a shift. Finally a change … for the better. That is my hope for us all.

Jeffrey Davidson - You have said in all in a meaningful way. It reminded me of the atrocity that brought tears to my eyes and heart.

I have been “around the block” so to speak but, as you mentioned, I cannot yet wrap my mind around man’s in humanity to man.

Wholeheartedly I agree with your sentiment that God would not grace one individual over another. I question why some many innocents were killed and/or maimed as opposed to doing that to those who have already committed atrocities against mankind. Perhaps that is too religiously philosophical, however, how does one pray to a God for the loss of their son and the maiming of their loved ones that allowed it to happen in the first place?

Your commentary does affirm the resolve of the American people who somehow persevere in times of tragedy and sorrow, give of themselves when others are in pain and suffering and still are able to become stronger.

Thank you for you commentary during the aftermath of such a tragic experience.

Jim Lunsford - Tammy, your post is profound, insightful, infuriating, sad, confronting, comforting, emotional, reassuring, and true. This repeated and temporary unification that happens in the aftermath of these tragedies must help to balance the scales of our humanity in some strange way. Wy does it seem that it is always in response to some horrific extreme that we find it so easy to tap into the amazing potential of our collective human kindness? Thank you for writing about this recent tragedy with such freewheeling honesty. The dialogue certainly helps the healing process for all of us.

Tammy - Hi Tana, so agree, “no amount of darkness can distinguish the light of a single flame”, brilliant! Evil exists. And it is powerful. Goodness resides in most of us, and it too, is powerful. To witness the unspeakable and unimaginable and know that it stems from someone’s hatred, is mind boggling. All we can do is stand tightly together, bound as one force against this evil, and in your words … shine our light. Thanks, Tana for sharing your light here with us today.

Tammy - Hi Jim, thank YOU for your kind review and for sharing your thoughts on this, still unfolding, horrible situation. It would seem to me that human kindness gets buried in the day-to-day that so many of us deal with. When it’s needed, called upon or asked for, it’s abundance raises its head for all to see. I’m grateful for that. I guess I can safely say that this world has no shortage of crazies. Thank goodness we also have an abundance of tremendous goodness amongst in us and around us. So thankful for the read and the comment!

Tammy - Hi Jeff, you would think that commentaries would be easy to dish out. Not so much. Especially when dealing with such unspeakable tragedy. I have so much to say but am hard pressed to say it. A lump lies in my throat and a heaviness in my heart that stops me from saying out loud what I feel and think. But it festers. Probably in all of us. I’ve been watching the news coverage and see that our country’s best has narrowed in on the perpetrators. It is most likely just a tip of the iceberg. Evil breeds evil. Hate breeds hate. There is little than can be done about it. But we all do what we can to help, console and love each other through this. Its what sets us apart. So appreciative of your thoughtful comment, thanks for that!

Rhondda Hartman - Way to go, Tammy!
Right on!
Keep on keeping on!
You write beautifully, very well expressed!
Love, Rhondda

Tammy - Thanks, Rhondda, I appreciate the cheer-on, and remain a steadfast fan of yours! Thanks for the read and the comment!

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