Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Bombs in Boston

(Note: This is a rough draft. Please forgive blatant grammar errors.)

Smarter animals run AWAY from things that blow up.
It hasn't been 24 hours, yet we already have the dominant meme by which this event will be remembered: PEOPLE RAN TOWARD THE EXPLOSIONS! AMERICA!

Various versions of this are appearing on FB newfeeds, almost all have been typed (vs shared image macros.) This means the meme has 'velocity' - people are replicating it by raw action instead of a passive one (click-share).

You could use this phenomenon to make a list of people you don't want around you in the event of an actual emergency because they'll be the last ones making clear decisions.

When someone types/shares this meme, what they're saying (remember, all of Facebook is about telling people about YOU!) is: "I'm a hero."

They're not.

You only need to listen to the mobile videos shot during the aftermath. You can hear person after person who runs up saying something like "I'm an EMT!" or "I'm a firefighter!" or "I'm a corpsman!" or "I'm a cop!"

You know, the ones who are actually trained to RESPOND to these situations. But your friends posting this tripe think THEY will be of clear mind - they will rise above and act with calm precision.

No, they'll shit themselves.

Two kinds of people run toward destruction: first-responders and fucking morons validating their own existence. There's only one of those you want touching your injured body.

But why the meme in the first place?

There is nobody to blame. Terrorism? Domestic? Foreign? We don't even have a go-to bogey-man right now. Broad blaming of groups seems to be out of vogue - we prefer our political violence to have a single face instead of considering the kind of inertia of a civil society fracturing at the seams.

Without someone to blame (external) we turn inward and deal with the crippling fear by telling ourselves we'd be stalwart and strong (but most importantly in this meme... NOT DEAD!).

Here's a way to test yourself: look at that picture of the guy with dangling leg remains being pushed in a wheelchair by two bystanders, then ask: Which person am I in this photo? Hint: Not the guy with no legs. You can't even imagine that, so instead you imagine yourself helping, because in that scenario, you still have your legs.

Law enforcement will probably find someone. Then we'll have more image macros about mental health again.

In the event someone sets off a bomb in your vicinity, here are a couple practical things to prepare for:

No, really, stay the fuck out of the way. Nothing is a bigger obstacle to first responders than "helpers" and "heroes." If emergency services personnel ask you to leave, do it. Do NOT decide that your heroism is more important than anything else.

#2: See #1.

While observing #1 and #2, remember to turn on your phone's camera and record. If you're doing video, let it roll as long as you can. Sound is almost more important than a clear video shot.

Last, you will remember none of this as you will probably be in shock.

My $5 prediction: the dude that did this is Irish.