After the Marathon bombing in Boston in 2013, the slogan on t-shirts and hats was “Boston Strong.” Much was made of the response of citizens and EMTs and the exhaustive efforts of law enforcement to capture the perpetrators.
I grew up forty-five miles west of Boston and must admit to owning a bit of civic pride as I followed the aftermath and the outpouring of good will from around the nation and world, including New York!
It’s tempting to buy into the bravado of Mark Wahlberg’s line from “Patriot’s Day” where he says “… they messed with the wrong city,” even though in an extended version of the trailer the actual line is something like “Let’s show them they messed with the wrong city.”
Response to tragedy seems somehow susceptible to a certain prideful regionalism, as if the local population is endowed with special qualities that no one else has. We’ve seen similar things in the midst and aftermath of Harvey and Irma, with similar claims for Houstonians and Texans and Floridians.
But isn’t this in reality what humans do, no matter where they’re from? They rise to the occasion, band together, reveal their better angels, do what needs to be done.