An entire county is (rightly) outraged over the Boston Marathon bombings. Flags are flying at half-mast, the Star Spangled Banner is being sung with the most emotion we’ve seen since 9/11, money is being collected to help the victims and their families and “Pray for Boston” is seen everywhere. I say, let’s pray for West, Texas, too.
Bombs going off during an iconic, crowded event like the Boston Marathon; It makes all of us think about the last baseball or football game we attended, the last large celebration or event in a big city. “That could have been me,” we think as victims are carried off in wheelchairs and stretcher. “That could be my mom, son, brother, neighbor.”
We empathize with those families whose lives were forever changed in a moment. We are outraged at the bombers and their motives, following the search for them as if we have a stake in the outcome.
But when a dozen or more people are killed and 160 injured in a tiny Texas town, and that town literally is ripped apart by an explosion, where is the outrage? Where are the cries for justice for the workers at the West Fertilizer Co., owned by Adair Grain Inc., who were just doing their jobs like any other day? Where is the grief for the first responders who were killed doing what first responders do: heading straight for danger to try to save lives and property? Where is the outrage and concern for the nearby neighbors of the facility, whose homes were destroyed and some of whom still are missing?
The tiny town of West, Texas, population 2,800, is suffering and will continue to suffer. While we can empathize with the people of Boston, most of whom are grieving for people they’ve never met, the people of West are grieving for their friends, coworkers, loved ones and neighbors. Everyone in that town lost someone they loved and many of them lost their homes and workplaces.
Bryce Reed, a paramedic, told CNN’s Anderson Cooper, "I can tell you there's absolutely no words that I possess that can convey adequately what I saw. It went from [being] my hometown and my reality and my existence to a war zone in an instant, and I haven't even had time to process that yet.”
Certainly, pray for Boston. But please remember West, Texas in your prayers as well.
There is a relief fund set up for the West, Texas victims. For more information, contact Point West Bank & Trust at 254-826-5333 or State National Bank at 254-826-3741.