Boston Victims & “The Bomber” Rolling Stone Cover

July 18, 2013

This morning, the subway car was delayed while I was underground. So, I got to the train station later than usual. And I ran for the commuter train.

Not only did I run, but I opted to take the steps up to the above ground platform instead of the ramp. The ramp leads you to a much lovelier, shady place, but it’s farther away than the steps. Plus, it’s quite a long ramp, so it takes more time to get up to the top.

I have incredible freedom in bounding around, nimbly navigating train stations, and getting places in whatever way is easiest for me. Because I have legs that allow that.

When I switched from the commuter train to the last little bus I take, I walked straight to the back to try and stay out of the sun shining through the windows. I didn’t have to wait for a ramp to come down at my stop. I didn’t have to sit right in the front, and see people on the bus sigh as they reshuffle for me.

There are a million little ways in which having two fully functional legs makes my life much easier than it would be without having them.

Yes, you could argue that if someone lost a leg, she would get used to a prosthetic, or a wheelchair, or whatever she needed. And yes, there are people who even run with prosthetic legs. So, losing limbs doesn’t make your life impossible. But, it certainly doesn’t make it any easier.

Imagine how long that transition takes – learning to walk all over again. Imagine the emotional pain and the strain on relationships as someone goes through such a harrowing ordeal. Imagine the stress on finances, and how that affects practically every part of someone’s life.

Many, many people were injured in the boston bombing in ways that will change their lives forever.

And now, they are see their alleged attacker, a killer, being glorified on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.

In case somehow you haven’t heard, Rolling Stone put a sexy/rock star image of the bomber on the cover of its magazine. I didn’t include it in the post, ’cause I don’t want to look at it. I don’t want to spread it. That’s why I’m not linking to it either. It’s gross.

And I realize that talking about it is also maybe gross. I didn’t know whether I should mention it here or not. But as I weaved through the train station this morning, I just thought about how lucky I am to be so free. And I thought about some victims who had many freedoms taken away. And I just felt that I wanted to talk about this.

So, Rolling Stone put this glamorous photo on the cover. Generally, as far as I can tell, many people are outraged. Mayor Menino is not pleased. (If that pdf of his letter doesn’t open for you, you can read the coverage of it from the Wall Street Journal blog.)

CVS, Tedeschi Foods, and many more have refused to sell this issue of Rolling Stone in their stores. Many musicians have spoken out in anger because this alleged bomber is being treated like a rock star.

Rolling Stone released a statement standing behind it’s decision. From what I can tell, they actually released two? My understanding is that the feeling is the article is supposed to help us understand how people become so violent. But here’s the question I pose to that. Do people become violent perhaps – just perhaps – because we give them every teenager’s dream by giving them a gorgeous cover of Rolling Stone magazine?

If you want to hear a little of the outrage from the victims themselves, you can read about it here (and Collier’s father’s take here).

I would much rather read stories about the man who bravely survived the carjacking and helped lead the police to the suspects, or the officer who died on duty. There was another officer who was shot and wanted to get back to work as soon as he could. There were 3 victims who died in the bombing. Or what about the surgeon who went and operated right after he ran the marathon?

If you want to talk about the Boston tragedy, there’s a lot to talk about. But the alleged bomber doesn’t have to be the main point of interest.

I’d love to read more stories of people who do good things. I feel as though all I’m ever reading about are missteps, scandals, crime, etc. But I think if we focused more on the positive in the world, more positive things would start to happen.

I don’t need to understand the mind of this man. I’m not a psychiatrist or some other person who needs to do research on how extremists think.

I just need to be part of society, reminded to treat others with kindness. Because the more people who are respected, loved, and taken care of, the less anger there will be. The less anger there is, the fewer tragedies will occur.

I think we could’ve been reminded of how important it is to be kind with a story of any of the heroic and lovely people mentioned above, instead of a story about the person who committed awful acts.

If you want to read anymore about the controversy, I think this article sums it up nicely. (If that link ever breaks, it’s the Boston Magazine blog entry from 7/17/13.)

In case you don’t have time to read it, basically the stance I gathered (which I basically agree with) is that for Rolling Stone to write an article about the alleged bomber is one thing (even though I’m obviously still not totally sold on that). But to totally glorify him and put a rock-star image on the cover is another. A picture is worth 1,000 words. To me, this photo doesn’t say the right ones.

I'd love to hear from you! So whaddya say?