Three years ago today, two pressure cooker bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Three people were killed, an estimated 264 were wounded.

The bombing was carried out by two brothers acting on their own. Predictably, at the time, the media was flooded with comment and opinion in the wake of this senseless act of violence. One of the most powerful comments at the time came from stand-up comedian, writer, actor and voice actor Patton Oswalt.

I had never heard of Patton Oswalt until I was sent a post that he put up on FaceBook in response to the  bombing at the Boston Marathon.

I am posting Oswalt’s words here three years later because his words are important and the thought he expresses is timeless.

 Patton Oswalt · 224,813 like this

I remember, when 9/11 went down, my reaction was, “Well, I’ve had it with humanity.”But I was wrong. I don’t know what’s going to be revealed to be behind all of this mayhem. One human insect or a poisonous mass of broken sociopaths.

But here’s what I DO know. If it’s one person or a HUNDRED people, that number is not even a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a percent of the population on this planet. You watch the videos of the carnage and there are people running TOWARDS the destruction to help out. (Thanks FAKE Gallery founder and owner Paul Kozlowski for pointing this out to me). This is a giant planet and we’re lucky to live on it but there are prices and penalties incurred for the daily miracle of existence. One of them is, every once in awhile, the wiring of a tiny sliver of the species gets snarled and they’re pointed towards darkness.

But the vast majority stands against that darkness and, like white blood cells attacking a virus, they dilute and weaken and eventually wash away the evil doers and, more importantly, the damage they wreak. This is beyond religion or creed or nation. We would not be here if humanity were inherently evil. We’d have eaten ourselves alive long ago.

So when you spot violence, or bigotry, or intolerance or fear or just garden-variety misogyny, hatred or ignorance, just look it in the eye and think, “The good outnumber you, and we always will.”

I was reminded of Oswalt’s words the other day when, sitting in my car, I witnessed a small incident half a block away. A man crossing the street clipped his foot on the curb and fell forward onto the sidewalk. In seconds he was surrounded by people checking to see if he was alright, sitting with him, and eventually helping him up. No one was in danger and the actions of these people are tiny compared to the courage of those in Boston who ran towards violence in an attempt to help the injured. But the scene was heart-warming nonetheless.

In the midst of an election cycle south of the border that seems often to be dominated by the rhetoric of anger and violence, it is good to be reminded of people who run “TOWARDS the destruction to help out.”  Oswalt is right. The world is full of good, compassionate, kind people who will immediately leap forward to help. We need to keep our eyes open for the signs of goodness and light in a world where it is often so easy to see so much that is cruel and dark.

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