Normally, we don't go to any great length to identify criminals (of any kind, really). We don't report neighborhood crimes of any kind - murder, rape, burglary, hit and run, DUI. We are not your go-to source for news, and we are not in the habit of breaking stories.
That, simply put, is not our bag. That's not what we do. We seek levity where we can hold it, and approach subjects of gravity with caution, tact, and certainty.
There are swarms of worthy content for the news purposes we've listed above, and as apt curators, we can point you in more than one right direction.
That said, we need to talk about this weekend, what has happened this morning, and what will happen tomorrow, the next day, and days beyond that.
As of 11:23 a.m. Monday morning, Ahmad Khan Rahami, the primary suspect believed to be behind the bombings in Chelsea, Saturday night, Elizabeth, NJ Monday morning, and possibly even in Seaside Park, NJ on Saturday, has been apprehended following a shootout in Linden, NJ, according to CNN.
Again, normally, we don't go to any great length to harp on the identities of criminals and terrorists.
We abide by a strict moral obligation to protect and honor those lives―and their families―affected by terror rather than play into the spectacle that woefully elevates terrorist into celebrity by putting errant names to often misreported faces; feeding fires where none should burn, lending way to a greater madness in a time with more questions than answers.
But as such has passed― a suspected villain caught, the deed done, and justice underway―we must steer clear of the greater misstep which is to live in the state of fear greater than that which we have already faced.
Generally speaking, we do not preside over all spokes of the news cycle, and for that, fortunately, we're not in the habit of misreporting. We tread lightly, and advise accordingly.
And back to what we're in the habit of doing, normally, we'd take this time only to inspire, comfort, extend our thoughts and prayers for all affected, and do our best to carry on while the situation works itself out.
But the very fact that a suspect has been caught demands that we do more because still more is required of each and every one of us. Patience. Compassion. Understanding. Patience.
It's really hard to know what exactly to do, but here's what we, as New Yorkers, are not doing today, tomorrow, the next day, and days beyond that.
1. Responding with hate
We're little more than one week removed from observing a somber 15-year reflection on the attacks of September 11th, 2001. Many New Yorkers still remember the moment with the great pain it requires.
Many new-New Yorkers know only so much as the media has provided: never the whole picture, but still painful in its fractured retelling. Saturday night, many felt this twinge of panic and hopelessness once more; others, for the very first time.
What was never mistaken was how admirably New Yorkers responded in the days, weeks, months, and years after the attack. But what we forget about is the anger and disdain with which we also respond in our own communities.
There's this, which will give you a small glimpse into the various hate crimes wrongfully perpetrated against Muslim Americans. Of course, that only goes back to 2011. How about this, from last week? Or this, two days earlier?
As long as we continue to identify Islamic extremists as representative of the entire religion of Islam, we will not have peace.
As long as our reaction to terror is with terror, we will not have peace. As long as hate inspires more hate, we will not have peace.
2. Responding to divisive politics
In case you were unaware, there's a Presidential debate next Monday. It's the first time we'll see Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump face off against each other. Regardless of how you feel about 3rd party voting, this is the battle for the lesser of two evils.
The events of this weekend (and we absolutely cannot forget the horrific events in Minnesota) are going to be the platform on which both candidates will try to unite Americans across their respective aisles.
And this is American politics at its absolutely most grotesque. If there's any reason not to watch this first debate, it's the events of this weekend.
Terrorism is neither a Liberal nor a Conservative issue. Shit, it's not even an American issue.
It's a global issue, and we need to stop pretending that A) America is the lone global power that can destroy it, B) either Clinton or Trump are people we want leading any charge like that.
3. Hiding in fear
Let's try this again.
Terrorism is neither a Liberal nor a Conservative issue. It's not even an American issue. Terrorism is a global crisis, and one that survives well beyond the grief that follows.
And grief is hard. Pain is hard. But our pain is rarely our own.
There's an inherent selfishness that comes with grief, one that is always forgiven, yet rarely acknowledged. When I say selfishness, know that, for a time, there's nothing wrong with that. But we have to remember to move outward―not forward, but beyond ourselves.
Our pain is not singular or special or sacred or unique or incurable. Our pain is shared by every man, woman, and child cast out of their own home and into uncertainty. Again, terrorism is a global crisis, and for that reason, we move out into the world and repair the damage that has been done.
4. Stopping what we're doing
Even when there's terrorism, Black Lives Matter.
Even when there's terrorism, LGBTQ lives matter.
Even when there's terrorism, the Dakota Access Pipeline protests matter.
Even when there's terrorism, protesting North Carolina's "Bathroom Law" matters.
Even when there's terrorism, oil spills in Alabama matter.
Even when there's terrorism, victims of the Louisiana floods still matter.
Even when there's terrorism, your right to protest the national anthem matters.
Even when there's terrorism, gentrification, unfathomably high costs of living, redistricting schools, homeless shelters, domestic violence, rape, murder, hate crimes, consequences of climate change as it pertains to a city underwater, getting from Point A to Point B with relative ease and affordability in New York City―all of this still matters.
Terrorism does not change this. Terrorism does not make these less important, and as the world does not stop because of it, we do not stop.
5. Rushing to judgment
We were on a boat Saturday night when the explosion rocked Chelsea Manhattan. We were on the Hudson, boozin' it up, eating food, dancing, having a laugh, celebrating the end of summer not too far away from the explosion.
It wasn't until about 45 minutes after the explosion before that we even knew anything―and even then, we knew very little. The boat was docked. The drinks were running out. But the party continued. We didn't stop the music. We didn't create a panic―though that was our initial inclination.
And we went on with our lives.
You worry about the optics of that situation. You worry about the public's perception of the whole damn thing: dancing on a parked boat while more than 20 blocks away, people are frantic and panicked from the explosions in Manhattan.
You worry about how it looked that a party was going on while 29 people were laid up in a hospital with various injuries. How does that look? How does that make you feel? Well, the next morning you feel like shit.
But night has passed and you still know very little. Another day passes and you know only the name and face of a man the police are looking to question.
Your commute across the river takes twice as long as it should. News trucks and police cars mark a fine blockade on 23rd and 7th. You get into the office, dripping with rain. You sit down. You do the work, whatever it is―for whatever it's worth.
And then the deed is done; a villain caught; a suspect apprehended.
And you wait for more information as it becomes available because you didn't scare 500 New Yorkers on a boat in the harbor, and you didn't send New Yorkers into a panic when terrorism―domestic or extremist, we still don't know―touched down in NYC again, and you will always sacrifice timeliness for the sake of being correct because God knows we are at our worst when we are impatient, let alone entirely and utterly wrong.[Feature Image Courtesy Instagram]