It was mile 15 on the stretch of the Philadelphia Marathon, my first marathon, when I heard a woman next to me respond to the grotesque pictures displayed on the course by a Pro Life activist. The woman yelled back at the man reciting a rant of accusations “why are you targeting us? We are runners, we advocate life” Another woman urged her to stop engaging with the man; “Do not give him power, do not listen to him, this is what he wants”.
I moved to the right side of the course and tried to keep my mind occupied while I entered higher miles.
Today I am remembering the two women on the onset of a tragedy at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. “Why us? Why target those who celebrate life and live a healthy life?” Why threaten and install fear in people who treasure and appreciate every step they take. Why choose to disrupt the happy moment that is experienced at a finish line? Why target us.
Why target anyone?
Then I remember the other woman; “do not give them power, do not let them scare you, that’s what they want”. Do not reason with the unreasonable.
“That’s what they want” . They want to install fear. “Do not give them the power”. But we do. We stop, freeze, watch in disbelief what their heartless actions do to innocent people. We post, talk, watch, repeat, and perpetuate their senseless destructive acts. We give them the power they seek. I want to shut my eyes and ears to them so that I can only hear cheers and see joy.
I don’t want to give them the power, and I also want to yell at them like the other woman did that they cannot stop us. That we will persevere and we will not stop. That we will continue to live and celebrate life for what it’s worth and that we will continue to treasure every step and cross every finish line and that we will not give in, we will not break. And I want to ask, why target us?
Why target anyone?