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Chicago Tue Apr 16 2013

Running Into Fear


I've always had a hard time trying to understand what it takes to inflict pain on or wish ill will towards another person. What does it take to psyche yourself up enough to fly a plane into a building, to carelessly shoot at another person, or to plant bombs near the finish line of a marathon? I want to know, but realize I'll never understand.

I think back to when I wrestled in high school: I would visualize wrapping my opponent up like a pretzel until the referee slapped his hand on the mat, declaring me the winner (this rarely happened, but I did have a few wins under my belt). But in the end, we would shake hands in the spirit of competition and go about our separate ways.

I think that's what made watching what unfolded yesterday in Boston so tough to stomach: someone or some group meticulously planned to plant bombs, and then intended for them to go off in order to harm anyone who stood in the way. No spirit of competition and no hand shaking, just fear after an apparent attack of terror.

There is, however, one thing that I will always understand that these cowards will never get, and that's the spirit of humanity. We saw it in lower Manhattan on September 11, we saw it after a recent run of terrible storms and earthquakes that ravaged our country as well as our neighbors, and we saw it yesterday on Boylston Street.

Amid the gruesome photos of innocent bystanders, whose broken bones, ripped skin and bloody faces reminded us that this was a faceless act, it was the security officials, volunteers and marathon participants who looked terror in the eye and flipped barricades amongst smoke and confusion in order to help those in danger.

Reports began to spread about runners continuing on to hospitals in order to donate blood. Images of people hugging and carrying others they'd probably never met before in order to get them to safety showed how brave we can be during times of crisis.

The support spread out to social media as the Twittersphere proved to be a great tool in providing up-to-the second information from all outlets. Even Google came out with a person-finder for those searching for loved ones.

In the days and weeks to come, there will be a cry for action in capturing whoever did this. There will also be increased security at concerts, sporting events and, most especially, at this year's Chicago Marathon. All we can do is have a little patience in dealing with those increased security measures, even if that means checking in backpacks farther away from the starting gate.

We also can continue to attend or participate in these or any other events in our city, as well as across the country. If I know my fellow running mates here in Chicago, we will not run away, but will instead run in the spirit of competition and say that we are not afraid.

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lilred6986 / April 16, 2013 8:35 PM

Honestly, it isn't hard for me at least, to put "myself in anothers' shoes". I find it easy to not only think about the unimaginable, but what it would feel like to pursue/ go through with the unimaginable, and in all actuality not do it. It all comes down to wither or not you actually go through with it. I choose not to, but for me,there is always a choice. To be a monster or not to be, that is the question.

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