Keep reporting: the Boston Marathon is exactly why journalists exist.

Boston Marathon

A bomb goes off in an international event. Blood, debris, a panicking camera man, lightning quick first responders. Seconds later, another blast.

This is how the loop of horrifying images on the news started yesterday, and it still hasn’t stopped. The same images are played over and over again, as analysts, authorities, politicians, activists, and viewers try to figure out what the hell happened in 15 seconds of a day that was supposed to be a family outing.

An act of terror. A bloody, disgraceful mess. The pavement was red.

In the middle of these horrifying scenes I have heard people say that looping the images over and over again simply validates the attacker, and many other terrorists or shooters to come. The ‘publicity’ is what these people are interested in, and by covering the death of three people and the amputation of limbs of many, many others makes attacks like this appealing to those who want to make a point.

This is no reason to stop reporting though.  Whoever did this made sure they set up the bombs in vicinity where there would be cameras, so his purpose was already accomplished by camera men who were there to film the end of the race. That was it, he caused an undeniable stir that simply could not be avoided. To stop reporting after such a boisterous display would have been wrong.

Let’s reiterate; a bomb went off in an international event.

When reporting on Newtown, CNN mistakenly showed a photo of the perpetrator’s brother as the real killer. Since then the news channel was careful not to show photos of the real shooter, so as to not give him the satisfaction of fame.

Though this is noble in itself, I also believe the families and friends of victims need to know who caused them harm, and why. Reporting on these events excessively does not encourage future incidents – these people are deeply disturbed and want to cause havoc, they want to kill people. There isn’t a real, concrete way to tell why they do it, or why they would want to do it but the simple fact that they have done it is in itself newsworthy and important to cover.

Besides obvious reasons of letting family and friends know what has happened, people who aren’t involved should know too. Why? So we can prepare for such events in the future. Though they are unpredictable incidents, there are ways of preparing measures to minimize damage and body counts – lockdowns, drills, proper training of first responders, and anything else authorities can think of.

Though it is upsetting to know there are deeply disturbed and evil people who thrive on murder, there is also a beautiful element to those who jump in to help and the reporting of these kind souls.

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If there was a diminished amount of reporting and information, people would not know about Carlos Arredondo, an example to us all. A father who has gone through the hardship of losing two sons, one in Iraq and another to suicide and the pain of carrying the burden of a peace activist who was inspired by these horrific events, he jumped right in to comfort a man who had been blasted by the bomb.

“There were so many people on the ground and I wanted to help them all,” he said, shaking. “But I just stayed with that one man, calming him down. There were so many.”

Celebrating Carlos and others who have helped save lives is important, especially when in comparison to the evil people who have done this.

In a way, the fact that no one has claimed to these atrocities might be an indication that they weren’t exactly looking for attention, but just to kill and terrorize. Hours have passed since it happened but no one has come forward and there has been no reason, ideology or motivation that was ‘publicized’ by the reporting. This is not what they want, or what any shooter wants. They want our blood.

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Photos by Wikipedia/Creative Commons License and BISH Tribune Review.

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