Saturday, April 20, 2013

In defense of human decompression

Last night, after authorities in Watertown, Mass., captured Dzhokhar Tsarnaev alive following an extensive manhunt, scenes of cheering occurred there and in nearby Boston. Some people have criticized these cheers, equating them to some degree to those in other countries who cheer bloodshed.

I beg to differ. 

One year in Springfield, a winter blizzard covered the entire city, and only those who couldn't avoid missing work (like me, naturally) were (sparingly) encouraged to leave their homes. The storm and its paralyzing effects lasted more than a week, during which my abilities to drive and walk were each squared. Then, one day, snow and ice had sufficiently melted to make most roads passable. On top of that, the sky was completely clear, temperatures had warmed up and many people still had no obligations.

In other words, massive traffic jams clogged the entire city. But you would be hard-pressed to find anyone typically irritated by it that day. After sitting cooped up at home for an entire week, not being able to see anything through the windows, people were automatically happy just to be able to not do that anymore.

In Boston, we're talking about people not being able to leave their homes by police order (not that they needed such orders) to do anything at all for two days. That's far, far more intense than the situation I lived through. So I'm not at all surprised — or upset — to see them release that tension among their neighbors, whether through laughter or any other emotion. They have their city — and their lives — back. The ones that they deserve as free people and as people in general.

Also, it's worth cheering because police took the suspect alive and thus can subject him to the non-mob justice system that separates us from terrorists.

Well, OK, the "U-S-A" chanting is hard to forgive on multiple levels. 

Otherwise, lighten up. If Bostonians can do it after what they went through, so can we outside observers.

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