Tragedy is the handmaiden of irony — those dark coincidences that make us shake our heads in wonder. Even after all the drama of this past week, they haunt us. What if he had arrived 10 minutes earlier? What if she had called in sick? Why this victim, why that survivor? At the Marathon, guests of honor at the finish line included parents of the shooting victims in Newtown, there to be honored and perhaps enjoy a brief respite from the trauma of senseless violence. We can only shake our heads at the surreal cruelty.
Last Monday evening I was scheduled to moderate a discussion at the John F. Kennedy Library with journalist and filmmaker Sebastian Junger. He was going to screen a new documentary about the life of his friend Tim Hetherington, the British war photographer who was killed in an explosion in Misurata, Libya, in 2011. We would watch the documentary “Which Way is the Front Line From Here?” and then discuss a foundation Junger has established to pay for first-aid training for the increasing numbers of freelance journalists reporting from global conflict areas. Junger believes Hetherington, who was hit by shrapnel and bled to death, could have lived had his colleagues known how to tie a tourniquet.