I can’t imagine any quicker way to have my vexations brought sharply into focus than to learn of yet another tragedy in our corner of the world. It doesn’t matter if your problems stem from your roommate’s girlfriend using the washer and dryer in your house to clean every goddamn piece of clothing they own on a weekly basis, the nuisance and bother of school, or the delusional man in your neighborhood who stands on the corner most mornings, muttering under his breath, accusing you of plagiarizing his manifesto and passing it off as your own; when something like this happens, it causes us (hopefully) to see things a little more clearly.

On Monday I was walking to class, mentally scolding myself for putting lotion on my feet and not waiting for it to dry before leaving the house in sandals with slippery leather insoles, when I learned of the bombing in Boston. (By the way, this is a problem I create for myself at least three days a week, and more often in the summer, because I was born without a drop of patience.) I was walking slowly, trying to grip the stupid tiny straps of my shoes with my toes, fighting the urge to just kick them off and join the ranks of the Chico Blackfoot Army (see also: young people with Pit Bulls, nose rings, matted/dreaded hair, and those woven straw cowboy hats that have looked good on NO ONE since their inception in the early 2000s).

Anyway, in an effort to distract myself from the disaster developing in my shoes, I pulled out my phone and checked my favorite online news source, Dailymail.com. For the uninitiated, Dailymail is the premier news source for those of us who like to know what the people in the UK are thinking about. (Hint: Margaret Thatcher and Kim Kardashian in endless combinations). Instead of the usual images of Kim Kardashian’s giant pregnant ass, I saw the bloody streets of Boston with the headline “TRAGEDY STRIKES IN BOSTON.”

Maybe it’s because I’m older now than I was when the Twin Towers were attacked, or maybe it’s that the cruelty of purposely attacking a celebration seems especially evil, but this incident has upset me infinitely more than 9/11.

It has since been revealed that the bombs were constructed from pressure cookers filled with shards of metal, nails, and ball bearings; the same design of those used frequently in Pakistan, Afghanistan, India and Nepal. The bombs seemed to target the lower half of the victims, which seems like a particularly cruel twist considering these people were just finishing a marathon. It makes my knees weak to consider what it would be like to have a tragedy like that happen closer to home in San Francisco or Portland, Oregon. I hope in recent days you’ve done as I have—squeezed your loved ones and tried to be easy on one another.

Sara makes the words happen.