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When Fear Strikes

April 20, 2013

I was a day away from heading home after the semester’s end December 14, when a gunman took 26 lives and his own in Newtown, Connecticut.

I was commuting from home to my local summer internship when NPR reporters were discussing the Aurora cinema shootings.

I was in my elementary school, just blocks away from my house, when planes crashed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and a Pennsylvania field.

When these tragedies struck, I’ve been able to go to some of the people I love most in the world, get a hug, and talk it out. It’s a comforting ritual in times of unexpected uncertainty and fear that tragedy can arrive at any moment, resting in the control of someone aiming for destruction.

When I heard about the Boston bombings, I wished for that luxury again.

I’m lucky; I don’t have family or friends in Boston, so the worry wasn’t as intense as it could have been when I first heard of Monday’s explosions. And so shortly after learning of events in Boston, I felt lucky that I didn’t know anyone in Texas when the news of a fertilizer explosion broke.

And I continue to feel immensely lucky to live in countries not plagued by civil war, genocide, and tectonic quakes. Destruction isn’t on the forefront of our fears in America, nor in France.

There’s a bit of security in being away from home when nothing seemed to be going right for America. But there’s a bit of insecurity, too, having the reminders that inhuman and inhumane harm can strike at any time, at any place. It’s the same insecurity that, I think, took the nation on September 11, 2001; July 20, 2012; December 14, 2012; and dozens of natural and man-made disasters in-between that took place both inside and outside the borders. Only this time I can’t follow the police’s and politicians’ advice of finding the ones I love, giving a hug, and talking it out.

If you’re able to follow that advice, please do. Remember to love, and remember to be humble. Stay safe,  Boston, Texas, Iran, China, Everywhere.

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