Why We Focus More on the Bombers than the Victims
One of the most difficult concepts for humans to grasp is a question without an answer. From the time we first enter a classroom as a child, our main objective, put simply, is to give the right answers to questions posed to us. Then when we’re parents ourselves, we spend endless energy encouraging our children to provide truthful answers rather than stay silent. So when the time comes when there is a question without answer, some of us experience a crisis: we obsess with the question, we bargain with God for clues, and we even make things up in our heads so that the question doesn’t linger unanswered. Perhaps this is why in the wake of the bombings in Boston, we’re spending a significant amount of effort trying to figure out why anyone would do such a horrific thing to innocent people. This may also be why many forms of media are spending so much time on the stories of the alleged bombers. We’re not bad people for wanting to know more, trying to find that missing piece of information that will lead to an answer; we’re just acting like we always do.
A large number of people also live their lives under the assumption that individuals are complex, none of us are only good or bad, but rather, somewhere on the good-bad spectrum. Instances like this bombing go against this basic belief because we can’t fathom how a person with any amount of good in them could do such a thing. This makes us reach out for more information, trying to calculate the moment in time when this complex person defied our notion that good exists in everyone. Or even more disturbing: considering these two people had some good deep inside them but still did the most evil of acts. It’s unlikely we’ll ever know these answers. But we’re just going to have to move on anyway.