Patton Oswalt’s Facebook Post After Boston Bombing Strikes A Nerve, Goes Viral On Social Media

Patton Oswalt; image at @PattonOswaltFacebook

Patton Oswalt; image at @PattonOswaltFacebook

It has been a media onslaught, as it always is when some huge. terrible tragedy happens. 9/11. Benghazi. Newtown.

The 2013 Boston Marathon.

The reports will continue as new details emerge, as victims get better or worse; as information about the perpetrators is discovered and revealed. But in the midst of all the horror, noise, and grief, we are still a community of humans, most of us struggling to live good lives and keep the planet from spinning completely out of control. And sometimes the way that’s done is with words. With just the right words. And it seems today the right words were spoken by comedian Patton Oswalt, a man known more for being funny than particularly inspirational, but whose Facebook posting about the tragedy appears to have struck a nerve. It started slowly and became a viral phenomenon as more and more people spread those same words throughout social media. According to Mashable:

Of all the pontificators and pundits reacting online and off, it was comedian Patton Oswalt who perhaps provided the most poignant take on the Boston Marathon bombing Monday afternoon.

In a post to his Facebook page, Oswalt wrote that while violence such as Monday’s tragedy exemplifies the worst of humanity, it’s easy to lose track of the bigger picture.

Here’s what Oswalt had to say:

Boston. Fucking horrible.

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.”

As of this writing, that post has been shared 122,579 times, with 168, 248 “likes.” I’m sure by the time you read this, those numbers will have grown.

Oswalt’s post resonates, I believe, because it articulates what we all know and believe but too often forget when terror shakes our resolve and shoves our face into fear. It’s easy to lose sight of humanity in the midst of the inhumane and, yet, it’s our own humanity that demands we remember. A friend bemoaned today that news is always bad, but I reminded her that the mere fact that bad – terrifying, deadly, life-shattering bad – is still news, even in this 21st century of tragedy and terror, is a good thing. The day it becomes so mundane it’s relegated to the back page, to cynical mentions and nihilistic nods, we’ve crossed a Rubicon we don’t ever want to cross.

And this story IS news. Because it is still the oddity of life – the jutting, jarring notable – not the norm. And that is its only redemption. The rest remains, particularly for those who’ve suffered loss and pain, the horrific reminder of that, thankfully, still “outnumbered” evil.



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