Returning to work today was not a great experience for me. I didn’t sleep well last night, I was really dreading it because I knew my reaction wouldn’t be a good one.
Last night my dad told me that people set up a makeshift memorial on the barricades surrounding the crime scene. I went into Stop and Shop to return a Redbox movie and found myself in the floral department. I found a bouquet of daisies that were a mix of blue and yellow - the BAA’s (Boston Marathon) colors. It was meant to be. Could I really afford $10.99 for flowers? Probably not, but I felt I needed to do it. I needed to support my friends and neighbors who are affected. Someone out there would be comforted by flowers at that memorial, and that thought comforted me. So I carried the daisies in on the T this morning, probably looking like an idiot but I was so numb I didn’t care. I carried the daisies past the National Guard at North Station and Arlington. Is this what we’ve come to?
All I could do walking up the stairs from Arlington was take deep breaths. Boylston St. between Arlington and Berkeley looked like nothing had even happened at first. The closer I got to Berkeley, the harder it became to look up from the pavement. As soon as I saw the barricades, I felt tears start welling up and I choked them down. I saw a small memorial with flowers, candles, t-shirts, posters, flags, anything people could leave. They were behind a row of TV cameras and photographers. What was a solemn moment for a lot of people in the area was turning into the Truman Show. I stopped for a second to just look, but I felt I would be interrupting a shot if I walked over with my flowers.
I saw a cameraman turn, and I asked if I could place my flowers, and apologized because I didn’t want to interrupt their shooting. I hated myself for even asking. I felt like we were invaded and being put on display. The cameraman said yes, and they were here for this. I barely took my hands off of the daisies before I heard the clicking of cameras behind me, and I knew that the video cameras were rolling. No one asked me if it was okay that they photograph me. I felt so violated, so angry. I was vulnerable, and I did NOT want to be a news story. I wanted my moment to begin the grieving process, to cope with what was right in front of me. These people were not invited, the world was NOT invited, but they forced their way in without my permission.
I was barely in front of the cameras for 30 seconds and I had to get away. I couldn’t cope under a magnifying glass. I wasn’t even half a block away before a reporter (literally) chased me down for a comment. I don’t know why I said yes, it doesn’t make sense to me. I guess I thought if I said yes and answered his stupid generic questions the sooner the vultures would leave me alone. I snapped out of it the moment he asked for my name. I said no, I at least have the privacy of not giving my name even if my face is splashed all over the news in whatever state he is from. The girl with the daisies who cried in front of a news camera.
It made me angry. I still am angry. The satellite trucks everywhere, the reporters, the cameras. Our lives are under a magnifying glass. What’s worse? There doesn’t need to be so many. That’s the brilliant thing about networks, you can grab the story from an affiliate and not send your own truck. But NO, ALL OF THE TRUCKS had to come. Why did every ABC affiliate need to be here? We have WCVB and ABC’s national team, THAT IS ALL WE NEED. (Using this as an example, all the networks are here.) I get that journalists have a massive story to cover, but why ALL of the affiliates? That’s damn excessive, and Back Bay is crowded enough as it is.
The other thing I’m angry about is the rumors that are being reported as fact. This situation is hard enough as it is without the most reputable news networks reporting false information. It’s a dark time, and everyone wants to catch the bad guy, but these journalists need to think about who is really paying for their “whoopsie.” For them, it’s an embarrassment that will disappear when the next big story comes along. For us it was hope, a feeling of reassurance, and the beginning of closure and then having the rug pulled out from under us when the FBI debunked the entire arrest story. These breaking news stories have a cost, a very big cost, and no one is even considering it. The networks want the glory, the credit for being the first to report it even when the facts aren’t there. What is angering me the most is there is no thought of the innocent people who are affected by it. It’s irresponsible and it’s happening in my home. Stop crying wolf! Stop the witch hunt and let the investigation HAPPEN.
Leaving for home made me the angriest. I went back to the barricade by Berkeley and Boylston streets to say goodbye to my dad who had another two hours before he could think about going home. He wanted me to see the evidence cones on Boylston St., the reason why the block was still closed. Shrapnel from the bombs flew two blocks, it was incredible. Crowds of people were trying to see what was going on, trying to pay their respects, make sense of everything. They couldn’t even get within 6 feet of the barricades because the media set up camp. The memorial was moved to one corner and stanchions were set up around it. Nobody could get near to see what was going on. I’m sorry, who turned this area into your news studio? Who moved the flowers into a corner so you could set up your camera? It was a sick backhanded move, made to look respectful but really so the media could get their shot. I’m still fuming just thinking about it.
I knew the city would be under a magnifying glass, I never anticipated I would lose all respect and privacy. I’m already sickened by the gruesome photos published by the media (THAT is an issue of disrespect to the injured, don’t even get me started.) I ask the media please respect the solemn nature of this tragedy. I ask they please respect the grieving. I ask they please ask permission before taking photos or video of those having a emotional private moment. Screw your stupid laws about shooting on a public street and have a heart. There are people out there who will allow you in, but RESPECT the people who won’t and don’t want any part of you. This time is difficult for everyone without having a camera shoved into a private moment.
I dread all of the cameras tomorrow. I just want one quiet moment with myself and Boylston St., and that isn’t a lot to ask for.