I had a pleasant, cheerful post planned for today. All that was missing were a couple of sunny shots of the yard, which I fully planned on taking once I got of of work.

Instead, I spent my lunch break watching footage of an explosion, and when I got off work, I had what I found to be an extremely offensive text message (from a family member) waiting for me. “Explosion at boston marathon…time for the non americans to say good-bye.”

Sometimes, people forget that my senior thesis project was dedicated to world peace and tolerance. They spout these things and expect me to agree or pat them on the head as a reward. Sometimes, they forget that my mother is an immigrant. She is naturalized, but the fact remains that not so very long ago, she was considered a foreigner. Sometimes, they forget that our family came to this country seeking religious freedom, since Quakers weren’t exactly well liked in England at one time.

Sometimes, they even forget that 98.8% of the people in this country are either immigrants or the descendants of immigrants. (US Census Bureau, 2011 data.)

That same person sent the same text message to my roommate…who is racially Jewish.

Gee, I wonder what happened the last time a big group of people got together and decided to get rid of the outsiders?

A lot of people are throwing around words like “terrorist.” There were rumors about a Saudi national being arrested, and different theories as to motive.

To be honest, I’ve stopped following the news on this story. It’s not that I don’t care. It’s simply that there is too much speculation flying around at this point to know much of anything for certain other than a lot of people have been hurt or killed, and a whole lot more are frightened.

Fear can be good in terms of self preservation. It lets you know when something isn’t right. But when allowed to go unchecked, it can do a lot of harm. Fear of the unknown, fear of those from other nations, other religions, with other languages–that is what got us into this mess in the first place. Maybe that fear was on our side. Maybe it was on theirs. But either way, that fear has been fed and now it is a disease that is crippling our country, choking it from the inside and preventing the growth of things that we need–the economy, foreign policy, education. Tolerance.

A lot of people I know have been arguing about gun control. A popular argument that has be repeated over and over on facebook is that the disarming of the people is how the Nazi party took power.

The Nazis took power by breeding distrust among the people, by laying the country’s problems at the feet of a group of people so that the general population could give their anger and dissatisfaction a direction, a name.

Gun violence is merely a symptom of a larger problem. Until we can learn to trust each other again, nothing will change.

I have had enough of the hateful messages. I’ve started blocking and unfriending people on social media that spread that anger around. I hear so much of it in real life where I can’t filter it, that I am not about to listen to it in a forum where I can.

Positive messages only, from here on out.

Increase the peace.