Last week was a hard week. A week of sadness and anger and confusion and fear and then relief. Like so many of you, I watched television on Friday night. I watched as eery details piled up. A home. A boat. A ladder. A tarp. Gunshots. Flash bangs.
But I kept coming back to one detail: Nineteen.
The guy hiding in the boat in the back of that home under that bloody tarp? He was a nineteen-year-old. A boy. I told myself that this didn't matter, that it was irrelevant, that he had done something unthinkably horrible. Something evil. That what mattered was that he was caught, brought to justice, ideally alive so that he could talk and help us all find some answers. And that's what happened. And, like so many of you, I watched as this unfolded. As Bostonians cheered. As the cars full of heroes left the scene, one by one. I went to bed on Friday and slept better than I had all week. It made sense.
But I'm still caught on the detail. That this boy did this. I remember bits of being 19 myself. I was a sophomore in college. I worked hard and partied hard. I started dating my college boyfriend. My biggest fear was a B+. I was, for the most part, ignorant about politics and religion and international events. I was in a happy, little New Haven bubble. And in this bubble? There were kids who looked just like this guy, this 19-year-old guy who did this heinous thing. And I find myself sad and baffled.
Obama asked the question I think we all find ourselves asking: "Why did young men who grew up and studied here as part of our communities and country resort to such violence?" Per many reports, Suspect #2 was well-liked, a good student and a good athlete. Why would he do something like this? And I know that this is a silly, naive question, that these things are complicated, often unanswerable, but still, why?
I don't know why I'm hung up on the nineteen thing. But I am. I still am. I talked to Husband about this, about my preoccupation with the age thing and he didn't quite get it. We talked about how many young people do horrible things - shoot up schools, and plant car bombs. And it's true. So, I'm not sure why I'm fixated on the age angle in this instance.
Anyway, I could have scrapped this post. Almost did. But then I figured maybe there is something here in these messy musings worth thinking about and talking about? You never know.
I find myself asking myself a question: Would it have made a different if he was 20? If he looked a little more menacing in this picture?
Were there any particular details from Boston that have stayed with you? Any idea why I'm fixated on the 19 thing? Who were you and what were you doing at 19?