Matthew Cohen, MSW

Matthew Cohen, MSW

Social Justice Solutions | Staff Writer
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20,000 Sing National Anthem: A Reminder that Solidarity Is The Solution To Fear

I was reminded of an article SJS wrote, in the wake of Newtown, on violence and fear as I heard the recording of the National Anthem at last night’s Bruins game.

20,000 voices signing together is a reminder  that difficult times bring people together. This is our natural solution to national pain and tragedy. It is something we tend to lose when life returns to normal. We forget that we are strongest when we stand together with one voice and one heart.  This is an example that the cessation of violence comes when there is a commitment to building a community and society where brothers and sisters standing together is the norm.

SJS has refrained from covering the Boston bombing because there simply does not need to be another voice sensationalizing events such as this. The coverage alone is motivation for some disturbed person to commit such an atrocity. In difficult times perspective eludes us; there is a mix of anger and frustration, but the predominant emotion is always fear. From our Newtown article:

Fear has a way of multiplying. The more obsessed one becomes with being fearful, the more fearful they become. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy. There are many tragedies in this world, but the things we are truly fearful of are few and far in between. The media sensationalizes the darker aspect of human society; it creates fear. The constant focus on the negative is warping people’s minds about the amount of danger they are actually in. It is as if there is an Apocalypse looming over all our heads.

It went on to say:

…although we believe the potential for violence creates safety, it really just creates more fear. The antidote to fear cannot be aggression, it only works in the short term, and there is no lasting cessation of fear. Inevitably someone gets hurt, multiplying fear;  in essence  we all become some version of Dr. Frankenstein.

This is an important angle for any tragedy. Today we wonder and worry over who committed these crimes. There is a sense of restlessness that is all-pervading that will not be satisfied until people know how, who and why. Although that remains an important aspect of things, more important is the actions that are taken as a result. If we find the information we are looking for, but cause more hate and fear as a result, there will never be an end to the violence that ensues. Whether internal or external, the only way to fight hate is through a commitment to peace and togetherness.

By all means, justice for those who committed these crimes should be swift and without mercy,  but the fear and violence in our hearts has to be dealt with and resolved, lest it creates a perpetual cycle of violence that plagues our children and our children’s children. That is our responsibility as adults and leaders, to hand out justice while dispelling hate and fear. That also happens to be the media’s job, and although not all media outlets will do so, you can count on SJS not jumping on the sensationalizing bandwagon.

Our hearts, love and prayers are with the victims, the people of Boston, and the entire nation.


Written By Matthew Cohen
SJS Staff Writer.

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