When I scroll through the endless series of blog posts and tweets, I (rightfully or wrongfully) am disappointed to see so many people trying to make this horrific tragedy about themselves. Trying to put yourself at the site of the scene, indicating that it could have been you, your family, your friends. But you, the person writing, were likely not there. You were not the one who has to deal with the repercussions of what happened. You, like myself, are just one of the millions of observers – an outsider looking in. And while we have every right to feel grief, anger, etc at what happened, I can’t help but be saddened when events like this enable people to turn the tables and make it about them.
Do you even know what it is like to spend any period of time not knowing whether a loved one is still alive? Do you know the range of emotions one goes through at a time like that? I don’t think most people do. Well, except for those who were there that day, or for those who have the unfortunate distinction of having gone through similar tragedies elsewhere. If you haven’t been in that dark place, please don’t try to act like you were. I can tell you from personal experience (not from this event, but from another), you simply can’t fathom what it feels like. But again, this is not about me, or likely you. This is about the victims.
So what I ask is to stop playing the what if game. Stop playing the victim card. Stop pretending like you know what it is like. I can assure you, you don’t. If you must, listen to those who were there. Hear their stories. Learn from their account and let them (if they wish to share) tell you what it was like. They are the victims. They are the ones who will spend the rest of their lives remembering what happened on April 15, 2013.
What can you do? Support them. Support the community. Inspire others. As runners, we are once again in the spotlight with an opportunity to shine. Whether that means showing up with greater force at events, doing more for your community, raising money for victims – do it. Do it all. Because that is what we do. We inspire others through our actions.
So in this dark moment, find your strength through reaching outward and do what you can to give back through whatever means possible. Just because you weren’t there doesn’t mean you can’t have an impact. We all can have an impact. Now more than ever is your chance to make things right. So get out there and run if you must. But run to inspire. Run for a cause. Run for others who can’t.