Stratford Gazette Editorial
An ice storm like the one we experienced last week is one of the worst weather-related incidents we expect to see in Southwestern Ontario. Hundreds of people were without power, some even into this week. Branches and trees were down and thrown across roads, some even landing on cars and fences.
The response was quick and, according to most sources, efficient. Warm up centres were set up in municipal buildings for those without heat. Clean water was made available for those who needed it. One Stratford resident relayed how a local restaurant provided her and her mother with some warm food, free of charge, while they tried to keep warm inside their car.
Then more disaster struck on Monday when twin bombs detonated at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.
There were initial feelings of fear and sadness, and incredulousness, but most of all worry for loved ones who attended or participated in the race.
But as the disaster played out, and is playing out still, one can’t help but notice certain trends. During the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the aftermath saw large amounts of anger and fear, and the actions that followed mirrored those raw emotions; two wars later, we live in a very different world.
This time around, watching the social media posts, there seems to be less anger and fear. Instead, there is a huge outpouring of support. The accounts deal less with the blood and severed limbs and more with those who opened their homes to distraught visitors, or offered their phones to strangers so they could call home. We’ve all seen the photographs and videos showing people running towards the blasts rather than away, intent on helping however they could.
Are we a less callous world? Or are we more conditioned to disaster? Perhaps these are typical actions that follow every disaster that, for whatever reason, normally go unreported.
As our world changes, ice storms will likely become something we’ll have to learn to deal with. So too, it unfortunately seems, are inexplicable acts of violence. But so long as we don’t lose this strong sense of community, seemingly strengthened by the ties of digital media rather than weakened as so many feared, we can cope.
– Gazette staff