Where our empathy should not end.

Ed Brayton has written a powerful piece about finding perspective in the wake of the Boston bombings.  Everybody should read it.

The rage that we feel and the desire for vengeance on those who perpetrated such evil is nearly a daily occurrence in Pakistan, for example. The bombs aren’t left in garbage cans, they are shot from drones that can’t even be seen, but the result is exactly the same. Innocent people die and those who love those people experience all the same emotions we do. Just as we crave revenge, so do they. Is it any wonder, then, that they seek it?

The man’s brilliant.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • Losing Faith

    Obama is in charge of this; he knows what is going on.

    • Glodson

      Your nym is appropriate. I’m losing faith in humanity’s ability to think because of posts like yours.

    • Nate Frein

      You know, this is a really vague post, and I’m having trouble parsing it.

      Are you saying that because Obama is “in charge of this” and knows what is going on, that he is therefore responsible for the drone strikes and should be held accountable?

      Or are you saying that because Obama is “in charge of this” and knows what is going on, that we shouldn’t worry, it is all under control?

      • Losing Faith

        Obama is the Commander in Chief.

        • Len

          This just repeats the first thing you said. Would you try to have a go at answering Nate’s question.

          • Losing Faith

            The Commander In Chief could stop the drone attacks.

            So, as Harry Truman said, “The buck stops here.”

        • Nate Frein

          Yeah, this makes me pretty sure Glodson and Zinc had the right reading.

    • trucreep

      Too true. Sad but true indeed

    • Thumper1990

      Are you saying Obama is responsible for the drone attacks, or Obama is responsible for the Boston bombings?

  • MartinDH

    @Losing Faith:
    Do you have your aluminum foil helmet with the shiny side in? The mind control rays seem to be getting through to you.

    • http://smingleigh.wordpress.com Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

      The shiny side in protects against 50% of mind control rays. Shiny side out protects against the other 50%. For full protection wear two inverted layers.

      • CanuckAmuck

        So *that’s* what I’ve been doing wrong!

        • http://smingleigh.wordpress.com Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

          But be careful! Too much foil reflects your brainwaves back inside, which can set up terrible harmonics.

  • John Horstman

    I can’t tell you how many arguments I’ve gotten into with people about how proximity-based empathy is immoral (especially when the impacts of our actions – individually or as a country – reach farther than that empathy). Thanks for amplifying the signal, JT.

    • John Horstman

      Specifically around this bombing, I should note. I posted an article about a bombing attack in Afghanistan on the very same day, pointing out that this is situation normal (all fucked-up) for many people in the world and that in fact our military is directly responsible for many such attacks (though not the one outside Zabul on Monday, except tangentially thanks to our aid of the Taliban decades ago), meaning there’s a huge, problematic disconnect between our response to the bombing in Boston and our response to bombings anywhere that isn’t the USA (I think I called it a disturbing undercurrent of jingoism; I was careful to never criticize the outpouring of empathy for the victims of the attack in Boston – hell, I’d already donated a bunch of cash to the relief efforts – but instead to criticize the disconnect in the responses). I got a TON of blow-back, even from friends who are strongly opposed to US imperialism; it was a bit surreal.

      • Phillips Howard

        Obama know about the drone attacks, and knows civilians are being killed. He could order them stopped anytime he wanted; why do the libs let him off the hook for this?

        • http://smingleigh.wordpress.com Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

          Yeah, take that, “the libs”! My last breath I spit at thee!

        • Thumper1990

          Yeah it’s not like people here and over at FtB (both bastions of Liberal-ness) aren’t lampooning him for it every time the subject comes up or anything…


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