Empty Streets

Another blogging day here filled with chaotic thoughts stemming from Boston. Social media is filled with pictures of an empty Boston. It is an eerie thing to behold. It’s as if Hollywood has carefully stopped regular life’s goings on to make another Armageddon film. Except that it is real.

It’s a scary thing, to see a town disturbed by violence, and yet most of the world knows this too well. It’s new here though.

Well, sort of new. After all, Oklahoma City knows violence. LA knows violence. Seattle knows violence. New York knows violence.

We all know violence, but many of us only know it via our televisions or newspapers. To have it in your actual life is a different thing indeed.

In my last year of teaching, I had two young men in my Composition I class. Both were new to the United States. One was from Sudan, the other from Serbia. In the short time they had been in the US, they had both found ways of assimilating the culture of youth. They dated, attended dances, laughed at bawdy jokes, did their homework.

Another thing they both did was share small bits of their younger lives with me.

It is a hard thing to hear a young man talk about hiding under dead bodies in hopes that the soldiers won’t notice. To hear of the murdering and looting and raping and horrors of adults fighting over things like religion.

One was known for his inability to feel pain. He was known for crazy stunts that would leave him bleeding but smiling, unconcerned over his broken flesh.

One was known for his sense of humor and kindness to his peers.

I’ve often thought of them both. I know they both had demons within their memories. I can only hope that as they grew into men, they found ways of real healing.

Because the world needs fewer empty streets and angry men bent on destroying others. And fewer little boys who grow up angry.

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3 thoughts on “Empty Streets

  1. It is a sad thing, and one in which I suspect we as Americans are often unaware of just how crazy other people have it, or just how fortunate we have been to happen to live here, generally, safety-wise.

    I think one trick of adjustment for many is going to be to learn to be more mindful of possible dangers while still retaining(or building from scratch) a generally well-balanced and happy outlook on life in this changing (“Danger-Will-Robinson!”) reality.

    Thanks for this, Kristina

  2. I, too, have been sheltered by living in America, and by not going to war. Though I have had a few close calls. As Boston indicated, danger can from anywhere at any time. There is something creepier when it comes from malign intent, but whether it’s an auto crash, an earthquake, an illness, or a nut with a gun or bomb, life is dangerous.

    We have a friend who grew up in Sri Lanka and saw the beginning of the civil war. I have a friend who grew up in Peru at the time of the “Shining Path” movement. My ancestors were Jews from Eastern Europe. Given how risky life is anyway, it’s very sad how much more dangerous we make it than it needs to be.

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