Let us think of Boston

Hi, peeps. Horrific day.

I’ve seen some of the video and a lot of images circulating online of the terrible events unfolding in Boston today. Many were graphic. Others showed the sidewalks after people had been taken away, deserted and stained with blood. Reports on the news emanating from area hospitals speak of limb losses, amputations, and shrapnel. Some people lost their limbs at the scene. Two people — including an 8-year-old child — have died thus far. One hundred thirteen, some reports say, are hospitalized. Something like twenty of those are in critical condition.

I went back and looked at some of the images and video again. I don’t know why. Maybe some macabre need to feel connected to my fellow humans in this time of grief and distress. The second time, I saw something more than the wounds, the damage, the bloody sidewalks. I saw dozens of first responders, dozens of police officers and military personnel engaged in helping and treating the wounded. I saw many regular citizens also helping, and these helpers running right into the carnage to do what needed to be done and lend aid where they could. And I’m hearing stories now about how thousands of local people have offered others places to stay in the wake of this terrible, terrible event.

I’m holding on to that, because I don’t know what else to do or how else to process.

To help, here are some online resources:
NPR offers some links

MSNBC offers some links to help, as well.

The Red Cross is taking donations. You can also text a $10 donation to them at 90999.

Google has set up a person finder site.

Boston officials have a phone number for people to call if they’re looking for information about loved ones: 617-635-4500. Please don’t call it unless you really are looking for a loved one in the Boston area.

The Boston Globe has set up a site for people in Boston willing to put people up for the night.

It also has a site for people who need a place to stay.

For those place to stay links, please don’t use them unless you are actually in the Boston area. Keep the links free for those who really need them. Thanks. Keep in mind cell phone service is touch and go right now because everybody is trying to get through to everybody else in the area. If you’re in the area, stick to texting or emailing (if you can). Keep your fellow humans in your thoughts, friends. We need all kinds of love and healing right now.

Memorial Day

Hi, folks–

If you’re hanging out at home (maybe it got a little hot to do much on this Monday off), I recommend this book by Sebastian Junger:



The book accompanies a documentary called Restrepo, but if you’re not familiar with Junger’s writing, read this book. He is a master with phrasing, narrative, and sparse, gritty language that puts you right into the heart of whatever he’s describing. Here, Junger spent months shadowing an American infantry platoon in Afghanistan. Here’s a quote from a New York Times book review:

The best way to describe Junger’s book is to say what it is not. “War” does not attempt to explain the strategy behind the American war in Afghanistan, or the politics of Afghanistan, or even the people of the Korangal Valley. As the action unfolds, Junger makes no attempt to connect it to anything else happening inside the country.

Instead, he uses the platoon (the second of Battle Company, part of the 173rd Airborne Brigade) as a kind of laboratory to examine the human condition as it evolved under the extraordinary circumstances in which these soldiers fought and lived.
source, New York Times Review of Books, review by Dexter Filkins

Here’s a trailer from the documentary Restrepo, which won the 2010 Grand Jury Prize for documentaries at Sundance. My point? There is a reason we commemorate Memorial Day, regardless of your beliefs about war.

The language in this trailer is NSFW.


When nature doesn’t nurture

Hi, folks–

As we saw yesterday, dozens of tornadoes hit southeastern states, killing over 200 people. Alabama alone has at least 194 deaths. Tuscaloosa, home to the University of Alabama, has pretty much been devastated. Birmingham had terrible damage as well, as do dozens of communities in that state and others in the Southeast.

Please keep those among us who lost friends, family, homes, possessions in this devastating swath of storms.

Here’s a site with a list of resources–shelters, where you can go to find info about loved ones, things like that (scroll down)

Red Cross and Salvation Army donation info page

Red Cross, Salvation Army, Governor’s Emergency Relief Fund

Author Shiloh Walker has launched a fundraiser for Alabama communities. Here’s how it works.

Whatever you can do, it’ll be appreciated. Thanks.