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After Boston….

Posted on April 16, 2013

My message to campus in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings….



TO: The Campus Community

 FROM: Paul LeBlanc

 Date: April 16, 2013

 SUBJECT: The Day After Boston

 I share your shock and sadness at the carnage that happened at yesterday’s Boston Marathon.  For all the good in the world, we are reminded once again that there are individuals capable of every evil.

 What we have learned from other past events is that there is often ample assistance immediately afterwards, a heartening reflection of people’s desire to help and to do something in the face of disaster.  However, it is often in the medium and longer term when help is most needed and less available.  So I have asked Jim Winn of our Public Safety Office to reach out to officials to see if there are any needs we can help with immediately, such as sheltering displaced runners far from home.  I suspect that people have been largely cared for at this point.

So I have also asked Sarah Jacobs to work on the other ways we can be useful.  For example, I hope we might have the Red Cross hold a blood drive here on campus so people can donate.  Individual stories will emerge and many of the grievously injured will have needs that stretch out far into the future.  We will see what we can do to help.  If any of those victims are closer to us in NH, there may be many opportunities that range from actual volunteer teams to help families in one way or another to fund raisers for ongoing medical expenses.  I’ve never seen a campus so responsive to the needs of others and I’m sure we will be so this time.  We will keep you informed and invite you to participate in whatever ways you can.

It’s not my place to suggest how you should “process” yesterday’s events.  But I will share my own thoughts for what they are worth:

  • As I watched the news last night and read the accounts today, I was struck by the bravery of so many security and medical professionals and ordinary citizens who rushed towards the blast site to help victims while others properly ran for safety;
  •  The outpouring of assistance and support from people up and down the race route was amazing and heartwarming, reminding us that no matter how heinous the acts of a few might be, the impulse to good is so much more pervasive.
  • I refuse to live a fearful life, worried about the next incident.  While yesterday’s event was dreadful, what we know is that the danger terrorism poses to ordinary Americans is far less than a hundred other ills we routinely ignore.  That’s as true today as it was yesterday, but of course it doesn’t feel that way at the moment and statistics are no solace at all to those who lost loved ones or were hurt.  My real point is that whoever planted those bombs wins if we succumb to the terror they intended. 

I hope we look to the British who in the face of IRA bombings and their more recent July 7, 2005 London bombings continued their routines and took a stalwart and unflinching stance to the threats.  I heard one commentator say of the Marathon, “It’s all changed forever.”  That feels like surrender to me.  I instead resolve to attend next year’s race and I hope as many of you who are interested will join me.  That is one small way to take a stand and say while a few evildoers yesterday robbed Boston of its annual Spring ritual of Red Sox, running, and Patriot’s Day celebrations, they will not steal it from our future.  Nor will they shake our belief that most people are brave, good, and tough minded. 

As soon as we have more information about how the SNHU community can help, we will let you know. 




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