What happened Monday at the Boston marathon is nothing short of a horrific tragedy. While details about what exactly occurred are still trickling out, it is now clear that there were two bomb blasts near the finish line. The bombs themselves were made from homemade devices such as pressure cookers, ball bearings, nails, and gunpowder, and police and federal agents are doing everything in their power to catch the perpetrators. Current estimates say there were about 176 injuries (or more) and three fatalities.
In horrifying moments like these, it's hard to see the good in anything. The thinnest silver lining, though, are reports of communities banding together to raise money, of bystanders giving first aid to people they'd never met before, and of runners changing course to donate blood at the nearest hospital. It's comforting to know that no matter how inhumane the situation we’re in, we have the capability to act with humanity and help each other.
What makes it that much harder to see that silver lining are people like conservative radio host Laura Ingram and Representative Steve King (R-Iowa) who found the time, amid the thousands of tweets, statements, and messages sending their prayers and sympathy to Boston, to politicize the event.
Basing his statement on "speculation" (and it’s nothing more than that) that the perpetrator was an immigrant, King spoke of delaying the immigration bill on the grounds that we can't "background check" the undocumented immigrants in our country. As for Ingram, immediately after Rep. Mike Mccaul (R-Texas) told her that the terrorist could easily be "either foreign or domestic," Ingram responded by questioning immigration reform as a whole, citing the potential danger to national security.
Aside from the fact that our current immigration system, by virtue of forcing people into shadows, is the larger danger by far, it's important to remember that we have absolutely no idea who the perpetrators are. None whatsoever. They could just as easily be home-grown terrorists as immigrants, just as easily Christian as Muslim as Jewish, just as easily Republican as Democratic as neither party at all. They could quite literally be anyone.
Shame on anyone trying to turn the attacks on countless innocent people into a political edge in the next round of congressional debates.
When the runners donated blood at the hospital, they never asked who their blood would be saving. When the bystanders rushed forward to help those lying on the ground, they didn't question their immigration status.
At a time when our country is shaken to the core, when people are too scared to walk near trash cans for fear of what's inside and reports of 8-year-olds dying in bomb blasts are saturating the news, what we need is to all come together as a country, because at the end of the day, we"re all flesh and blood. We're all human.