Tunnel Vision or Complacency?

It’s been two weeks since the horrific bombings at the Boston Marathon. Although it was carried out by two brothers, the effects have been felt around the world.

I bring up two brothers because the ongoing investigation may still surface others who may have been involved. These two brothers dropped off their backpacks loaded with pressure cooker bombs. One was placed next to a US Postal Service “relay box” – those brown boxes you often see on city sidewalks. A random photo shows the relay box with the bag next to it, the beautiful eight year-old boy who was killed standing nearby and the 19 year-old bomber in the background. Everyone was so excited and involved in watching the Marathon they didn’t notice the evil young bomber setting down the killer backpack. The onlookers just wanted a good place to watch the tail end of the race and maybe cheer on some friends.Boston-Bombing-Chechen-Suspect

I notice in all the photos that several individuals wearing yellow vests were standing in that same area near the relay box. They were there for crowd control and security. They were watching the observers on the curb as well as the runners and others in the street. When their backs were turned, the bomber placed his pack. To date, we don’t know if the investigation has turned up anyone who actually saw the packs being dropped.

I have written before about how “We the People” have become “Big Brother”, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing, is it? Photos and videos taken by our cell phones, iPhones, tablets and digital cameras, together with the videos of security cameras on buildings along the route captured the persons of interest, the backpacks before they exploded and the horrendous aftermath. Along with this evidence, the Feds and local police were able to put together the scenario and identify who carried out this heinous crime.

BostonBomersSo what’s the problem? The crime had to be solved AFTER the tragedy and not before it could happen. That’s where tunnel vision and complacency come into play. Had someone notice and then questioned why an individual dropped a pack and walked away or disappeared, perhaps the casualty count would have been eliminated or lessened because security could have cleared people out immediately.

I believe that we in the USA live in the greatest country on earth. We also fall prey to thinking, “It will never happen to me.” Well, I say we need to get over that thought. Whether you were there at the scene or watching on TV, what happened on that otherwise beautiful day in Boston, one of America’s greatest cities, probably affected you the same as 9/11, Columbine, Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech and so on.

How many of you have bought a new car and then noticed how many others are out there that look just like yours? This is a form of tunnel vision. When my wife got her Ford Edge, she suddenly noticed all the other Edges on the road, especially the white ones like hers.car-lot-620x220_0

Picture three guys are in a car driving down a street. The driver says, “I’m hungry.” The front seat passenger says, “It’s three o’clock.” The back seat passenger says, “Did you see that girl?” None of them saw what the other person saw. The clock was in the window of the restaurant that the girl was walking by. They each saw something different depending on what was going through their minds at that moment. That’s how tunnel vision works with a group of bystanders watching an event like the Marathon.

Complacency happens when someone sees something and chooses not to do anything, to react, to bring it to someone else’s attention.  Someone saw the backpack dropped by the relay box but didn’t think twice about it; or if they did think twice, they chose not to do anything.

Next time you step outside your home, look around your neighborhood. You may see it differently than you did yesterday. Think about it.

After being in lockdown all day Friday April 19th, Boston authorities lifted the restriction late in the afternoon. People began coming out of their homes. And God bless the man in Watertown who noticed the open back door to his shed, the blood on his boat. He had the courage to peer into the boat to see what appeared to be a bloody human. By calling the police and then warning his neighbors, he was NOT complacent.boston-bombing-suspects-boat-hiding

We cannot stop going about our daily lives and routines. But we can start being more aware. We may end up a hero for reporting something important. And if not, we can at least notice that our car needs to be washed or weeds pulled, a neighbor needs help, or even, as happened to me recently, the dust has piled up in the doctor’s supposedly sterile office. I pointed that out to him. What can you discover that’s different, good or bad?

Gary Ingram

Gary Ingram

I grew up in Golden, CO in the 50’s, the child of a middle class housewife and a lifelong employee of the U.S. Post Office. My professional career spanned 25 years with the U.S. Government and I retired early. Today I am an Aging-in-Place Specialist (which does not mean I just sit in a recliner and watch football), a devoted “Papa” to my grandchildren and partner to my lovely wife. I’m a crusty old fart who appreciates a good cigar, an old car, an occasional game of golf, Blue Collar Radio, NASCAR and my Denver Broncos. At BoomerReviews.com, I hold the title, “Chief of Questions.” Let’s see what you think about my questions and answers. Chime in!

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