Hump Day: Nightmare in Boston brings terrorism closer to home

Hump DayHump Day
By Brian Cormier
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Moncton Times & Transcript
Editorial section

As I write this, it’s Monday evening going on 11:30 p.m. The news of the Boston Marathon bombings has taken over everything on the news. The Conservatives have launched attack ads on newly minted federal Liberal leader Justin Trudeau. And New Brunswick Liberal leader Brian Gallant has just won the byelection in Kent.

For a newshound like me, it’s not easy to concentrate on work. I personally didn’t know anyone who attended the Boston Marathon (at least to my knowledge), but apparently the New Brunswickers who attended, at least from what I understand at the time I’m writing this, are all present and accounted for, which is good.

Despite that, there are many families and friends who are grieving for the dead and injured today, and wondering how such a happy event could turn so tragic. Unfortunately, terrorists show no respect and attack when people are least expecting it. When people are at work. When people are travelling for business or pleasure. Or when people are just watching a popular sporting event such as the Boston Marathon.

We Maritimers have close ties to Boston. We send a Christmas tree to the city every year. Many of us travel there on a regular basis since it’s only a day’s drive. Their sport teams rank right up there with Canadian teams as far as local favourites go. The Boston Bruins and the Boston Red Sox see their fair share of Maritimers attending their games every year. From what I see on Facebook, the Red Sox, especially, have many very ardent fans among New Brunswickers.

Like many of you reading this column, I have relatives in the Boston area – cousins we would only see from time to time. They’d ask us why we Canadians always said, “Eh!” We’d ask them why they said “ka” when they mean “car”. Neither one of us knew the answer.

On cable, we get the Boston stations. If there’s a snow storm coming, we know about it the day before. “Did you see the storm on the Boston channel? We’re getting it tomorrow.”

It seems unfathomable that a terrorist act could take place in a place that is like a second home to many Maritimers. New York City in 2001 was one thing. It was still remote for many of us. But Boston? Seems to me like most of us have been there. Heck, I’ve even been there and I’m not even a traveller.

I’m not one who’s prone to nightmares. Oh, I’ll have the odd bad dream here and there. I suppose those are normal. But an honest-togoodness nightmare that scares the toenails right off ya? Well, I had one the other night. This week, the latest episode of the Fox show Glee aired and featured a shooting in the school. In the end, no one was hurt and the gun going off was an accident (you would have had to see the show for the reason why the gun was in the school in the first place), but I found the acting was quite powerful by those portraying the students caught in one of the classrooms.

Glee is usually a happy show. There’s some crying from time to time, of course, due to teenage angst, but for the most part people are cheery. But this episode was the exception. The abject terror portrayed by the actors holed up in the classroom while the police were scouring the school for the gun was something to behold. They didn’t know who was trying to get in through the classroom door. They didn’t know if their friends had been shot. They didn’t know if this was there last day alive.

After watching the show that night, I slept well. But it was the next night when I had the nightmare. I dreamed that someone had started shooting my house with a very powerful gun. They were very angry. They wanted to kill me. They were strong. They were not going to give up. Holes were being blown out of the house as I cowered on the floor. The noise was deafening. I distinctly remember feeling terrified.

I remember waking up and giving my head a shake to remind me that it was just a dream, but when I fell asleep again, the nightmare took over. It was a rough night until the alarm finally went off at the usual 5:55 a.m. Let’s just say that I wasn’t exactly well rested that day. Despite knowing it wasn’t real, it still left me shaken.

When I was a kid, I remember one hot summer night late in August when my family was gathered around the television watching Little House on the Prairie when, all of a sudden, we heard the distinct sound of gunshots from up the street. Came to find out later that one of the neighbourhood hoodlums (there was an entire family of them) decided to chase his father through the park while taking potshots at him with a rifle.

Pretty much tells you that my upbringing was pretty “vanilla” compared to people who lived just a few houses away, huh? Or should I say, “Eh?” I was watching Little House on the Prairie with my father. The kid up the street was running after his father in the park and shooting at him. I’ll take the vanilla upbringing any day over the much more “exciting” Wild West family life, thank you very much.

Boston is a big city, but it was considered a pretty safe city to many of us, I bet. Today, that image is lost. Someone came through their town bearing bombs and looking to hurt the innocent. I feel for them. They won’t wake up from this nightmare. It wasn’t just a sound they heard in the distance. Bostonians are our friends. Our cousins. Our neighbours. Our fellow sport fans and cable buddies. Courage, my friends! Courage!

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