header image

[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Clear
Clear
53°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
December 3
1887 - Prohibitionist Henry Needham purchases land in Newhall, attempts to establish "dry" colony [story]
H.C. Needham


johnzaring2012I was just about to submit this week’s column – yet another rant about continued Republican intransigence in the House on gun control and immigration reform – when news of the explosions at the finish line of the Boston Marathon filled my Twitter feed.

Like many others, I quickly found a television and sat transfixed for the next several hours, paralyzed by the latest in a string of American tragedies unfolding in real time before the eyes of the world. I was glued to CNN, so transfixed that I forgot to hit send on the email that carried my column.

I’m glad I didn’t send it, because I needed to write this column instead.

In those early moments there wasn’t much information. No one knew if it was a bomb or some sort of organic accident. Over and over again I saw the same 40-second clip of the first explosion, watched 78-year-old runner Bill Iffreg of Washington – who was just yards from finishing his third Boston Marathon – get blown to the ground, but even more astonished to see the heroic volunteers and first responders who ran directly into the smoke and falling debris, seemingly oblivious to the danger and despair that awaited them while the gathered crowd scattered in more rational fear.

The second blast happened about 12 seconds later and a half block from the first, and with that, it became clear that this was no gas explosion. Someone did this. Someone intentionally perpetrated this mayhem and destruction. Someone set out to kill and maim anyone simply unlucky enough to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

This was an act of terror, just like the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995, or in Centennial Park at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996. Perhaps it was done by some lone-wolf domestic terrorist with an ax to grind or maybe an extremist group, either domestic or foreign, which believes spilling the blood of an unsuspecting collection of innocents is a justifiable means to an end.

Regardless of the “who,” I see it as nothing more than a simple act of cowardice.

In initial reports, we learned that two people had died, with upwards of 30 wounded. But as the minutes turned to hours, as is always the case in these types of situations, the number of injured began to climb. Soon 50, then 70, and when they announced more than 100 injured, I felt the same pit in my stomach, the same sense of dread and disbelief, the same sadness I had when the second plane hit the World Trade Center tower on 9-11.

Admittedly, once the final human toll was assessed – 3 dead and 179 wounded – the scope was not the same as 9-11. However, the feeling of helplessness when all you can do is watch is very much the same.

One of those among the unlucky was an 8-year-old boy named Martin Richard from nearby Dorchester, Mass., who was at the finish line with his mother Denise and sister Jane to watch his marathoner-dad Bill complete the Boston Marathon.

Seconds before the explosion, the little boy had happily run out onto the course to hug and kiss his father as he completed his race, and he was only back in his mother’s arms for a few seconds when the first bomb detonated.

Martin died instantly, while his 6-year-old sister lost a leg and his mother suffered serious head trauma.

In an instant, this family’s world was forever shattered.

I have been married for 22 glorious years, and like this family, we have two beautiful children we love more than life itself. As a runner, I know that you run the pace you run, and shaving even a few seconds off a personal best is almost impossible for a recreational athlete. Still, I cannot even begin to imagine the guilt this father will wrestle for the rest of his life, knowing that had he just ran a little faster, finished but a mere moment sooner, his family would have rotated out of the area and his son would be alive, his wife and daughter uninjured.

Folks, the fickle finger of fate is indiscriminate. Unforeseen if not unimagined tragedy can befall anyone of us at any moment, whether through a random act of terror like this one in Boston, an accident, or even an against-all-odds lightning strike. Still, I’m sure little Martin Richard’s father will wonder for the rest of his life: What if.

MartinRichard_BostonYou might have seen the picture of Martin with a homemade sign he made after the Sandy Hook Elementary school massacre – it read “Stop Hurting People. Peace” – and it was his show of solidarity and strength for the families of the students and educators lost in Newtown.

How ironic that the same sort of random violence would find Martin and his family. How sad that America must once again grieve for an innocent child, slaughtered defenselessly for no other reason than just being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

If you have children, give them an extra squeeze tonight, hug them just a little longer. Tell them you love them, because you never know when some lunatic with a gun or a bomb or a lightning bolt might take them away from you.

This is our world. America is our country. Make it a better place, try a little harder, be nicer. Help a total stranger tomorrow. Instead of pretending not to notice, be there with a kind word or a helping hand when a friend needs you. Tell the people you love just how much you love them.

Don’t take anything for granted, because while this all might sound corny, like some feel-good, self-help mumbo jumbo, you know what? It won’t hurt you to be a better person.

May God bless those whose lives were forever changed in Boston on Monday.

 

John Zaring describes himself as a reformed Republican turned moderate Democrat who believes democracy works best when its government actually functions because its leaders are working together. He serves on the Castaic Area Town Council’s Land Use Committee, Castaic Middle School’s Site Council, the Hart District’s WiSH Education Foundation, and he is the West Ranch High School representative on the Hart District’s Advisory Council. A self-proclaimed “New Democrat” a la Bill Clinton, he lives in Castaic with his wife of 21 years and their daughters, Fiona, 16, and Kylie, 12. His commentary publishes Tuesdays.

 

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

0 Comments

You can be the first one to leave a comment.

Leave a Comment


Opinion Section Policy
All opinions and ideas are welcome. Factually inaccurate, libelous, defamatory, profane or hateful statements are not. Your words must be your own. All commentary is subject to editing for legibility. There is no length limit, but the shorter, the better the odds of people reading it. "Local" SCV-related topics are preferred. Send commentary to: LETTERS (at) SCVNEWS.COM. Author's full name, community name, phone number and e-mail address are required. Phone numbers and e-mail addresses are not published except at author's request. Acknowledgment of submission does not guarantee publication.
Read More From...
RECENT COMMENTARY
Tuesday, Nov 16, 2021
In last month’s blog I listed the many unusual animals DACC has impounded throughout the years. I challenged readers to guess which two species of animals that DACC has not impounded, promising to reveal the answer in this month’s blog.
Tuesday, Nov 2, 2021
October 30 was the day we cut the ribbon and welcomed residents to the new Canyon Country Community Center.
Monday, Nov 1, 2021
Tis the season to celebrate, and I know I cannot wait to come together as a community, once again, to kick off the holiday season at Light Up Main Street! This year’s event will take place on Saturday, Nov. 20, at 6:00 p.m.
Thursday, Oct 14, 2021
People are often surprised when I tell them the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control (DACC) cares for animals other than dogs and cats.
Monday, Oct 4, 2021
The culmination of a major project is always an exciting time.
Friday, Oct 1, 2021
It is time to celebrate everything that makes Santa Clarita an All-Star City! We are thrilled to once again hold our landmark State of the City event in person for 2021. The big event will be held on Thursday, Nov. 4, at 3:00 p.m. at the brand-new Canyon Country Community Center.

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
The Santa Clarita City Council will take a major step toward enhancing one of the city of Santa Clarita’s landmark amenities by holding a groundbreaking ceremony for the Central Park Buildout project on Monday, Dec. 6.
City Invites Community to Central Park Buildout Groundbreaking
Los Angeles County Department of Public Health officials confirmed Friday 17 new deaths and 1,942 new cases of COVID-19 countywide, with 39,281 total cases in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Friday COVID Roundup: Cases Among People Experiencing Homelessness Declines for 2nd Month in a Row
The city of Santa Clarita Planning Commission will hold its regular meeting Tuesday, Dec. 7 at 6:00 p.m.
Dec. 7: Planning Commission Regular Meeting
The first cohort of the College of the Canyons Low Observable Technician Pathway graduated on Nov. 23. 2021 at a special ceremony held at the college’s culinary arts center.
COC’s First Low Observable Technician Pathway Cohort Graduates
The Board of Trustees of the Santa Clarita Community College District is undergoing the redistricting process, and community members will have the opportunity to comment on revised trustee area boundaries at two upcoming public hearings.
Santa Clarita Community College District Board of Trustees Undergoing Redistricting
The California Highway Patrol joins the American Occupational Therapy Association in recognizing Dec. 6 through Dec. 10, 2021, as Older Driver Safety Awareness Week.
Dec. 6-10: 2021 Older Driver Safety Awareness Week
On Wednesday, Dec. 1, College of the Canyons held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Don Takeda Science Center, which is named in honor of longtime biology instructor Don Takeda, who retired in 2017.
COC Holds Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for Don Takeda Science Center
To help ring in the holiday season, Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger will host her annual party for youth served by the Department of Children and Family Services and their foster families at Six Flags Magic Mountain on Saturday, Dec. 4.
Supervisor Barger to Host Annual Foster Youth Holiday Party at Six Flags
The Los Angeles County Lake Lifeguards begin the search for potential new lifeguard candidates with the Lake Lifeguard Test Saturday, Dec. 4 at the Castaic Aquatic Center.
Dec. 4: Lake Lifeguard Test Starts at the Castaic Aquatic Center
1887 - Prohibitionist Henry Needham purchases land in Newhall, attempts to establish "dry" colony [story]
H.C. Needham
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has received confirmation of its first case of COVID-19 with mutations consistent with the new Omicron variant (B.1.1.529).
Thursday COVID Roundup: First Case of Omicron Detected in L.A. County
Andrew Ghassemi, senior vice president of Spectrum Commercial Real Estate, Inc., is pleased to announce the recent sale of a Class-A office building in Valencia.
Spectrum Real Estate Closes on $3.5M Sale of Valencia Office Building
Metro Los Angeles celebrated the groundbreaking Wednesday for the I-5 North County Enhancements Project, which will improve the operations and safety of the I-5 freeway for motorists in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Interstate 5 Improvement Project Breaks Ground in Santa Clarita
Do you take the easy route with a bag and tissue paper because your wrapping job looks like a crumpled mess?
Learn How to Wrap Gifts Like a Pro Thanks to JCI Santa Clarita
Commercial driver’s licenses, learner’s permits, endorsements and special certificates expiring between March 2020 and February 2022, are automatically extended through Feb. 28, 2022, the California Department of Motor Vehicles announced Thursday.
DMV Extending Commercial Driver’s Licenses, Learner’s Permits
1972 - Five wounded in Vagos biker gang shooting at Curtis & JoAnne Darcy's Acton '49er Saloon [story]
Darcys 49er
We are in the home stretch of the holiday season. I hope you have made plans to safely celebrate with family and friends. I also want to encourage you to keep safety in mind when shopping for that perfect gift for your loved ones.
City Manager’s Monthly Message – December 2021
La Mesa Junior High 8th graders will soon be building water bottle rockets as part of their science program, thanks to funding from California Credit Union through its Fall 2021 Teacher Grant program.
La Mesa Teacher Wins Fall 2021 Teacher Grant
Los Angeles County Animal Care and Control is celebrating the 'Paw"lidays by offering the gift of a new furry friend. 
Adoption Fees Waived Through End of the Year
Santa Clarita Artists Association is pleased to showcase an oil painting demo by Sharon Weaver on Feb. 21, 2022.
Artists Association Presents Oil Painting Showcase With Sharon Weaver
The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station has once again begun collecting toys as part of the Annual Holiday Toy Drive.
Sheriff Station Seeks Donations For 2021 Holiday Toy Drive
The Santa Clarita Public Library turning the page towards a new month with events and programs for all to enjoy.
Adventure Awaits At Public Library This December
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed Monday 18new deaths and 1,473 new cases of COVID-19 countywide, with 39,128 total cases in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Wednesday COVID Roundup: Omicron Variant Detected in Northern California
SCVNews.com
%d bloggers like this: