As the shock and emotions of yesterday’s bombing of the Boston Marathon begin to settle, I’m beginning to see the start of the demand of self-censoring, among my friends at least. Not demanding censoring of the graphic images of the aftermath, but of the thoughts and opinions of those who deign to speculate on such an awful act. A desire to restrict free speech to make one feel better, or prevent fear mongering is a little over the top, in my opinion. I can’t suggest a blanket approach to making one feel better, aside from avoiding the internet entirely, turning off all TVs and radios, and huddling in a dark corner while the event fades in to history. Others will wish to talk, humans have an insatiable need to talk things out. Fear mongering can be mitigated through verifiable facts, and refusal to allow such mongering to be taken seriously in the first place. We need not silence everyone. We merely need to talk responsibly, and remind other to do so.
As humans, we have several reactions to traumatic events. Emotional outbursts of anger, rage, sadness, fear. Many of us use one coping mechanism or another to help process such events. Some withdraw and privately contemplate, or avoid the subject and those discussing it. And some talk about it, to many different degrees. Communicating feelings, thoughts and theories after traumatic events, as far-removed as a person is from them, can help greatly in a person’s ability to process the event.
I am a poster on many kinds of forums, and time and again, I see the practical application of this ‘group therapy’, if you will, after traumatic events where a poster must talk about it to ‘get it out’. This kind of chatter between people isn’t unwise, it’s helpful. When many come together to discuss something such as the Boston bombing, we’re aiming to help each other find relevant factual information, and to keep the more emotionally devastated from completely flipping their shit. Invariably, there is always going to be one or some who take the conspiracy route to try to vindicate their own theories. In my experience, those prone to similar thoughts are bound to flock together. Stitching theories together and speculating on ulterior motives is yet another variant coping mechanism for people. It is not to say they’re bat shit crazy, but more reluctant to take the more ‘vanilla’ explanations at face value because surely there must be a deeper reason for such carnage against innocents. I don’t personally subscribe to the false flag theories abound right now, but it’s their theory and they are free to have it.
Unlike my friends, I will not tell others not to speculate. I am a logical person, and do expect logic from people joining my conversations. As such, I’ll listen to harebrained theories, but don’t give them much credit. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, and in the end, it is the participant’s responsibility to figure out if the information and ideas are bunk and whether or not to believe them.
Requiring silence from others accomplishes nothing.