Commentary: Boston Marathon

Pity the poor pressure cooker.  Unknown

Long used to fast boil corned beef, soften lentils or steam rice, it’s reputation is now maligned as an appliance easily adapted into a homemade bomb.

This isn’t the chemistry sets of old when kids built volcanoes from clay and combined baking soda, food coloring, and vinegar to create bubbly eruptions.

The term pressure cooker is also used to describe stress.  One can live  or work in an environment that causes anxiety, pent up anger, and other negative feelings that when provoked could boil over.

Sadly, homegrown explosions aren’t hard to do. Apparently the Internet is full of instructions.

In yoga today, Dana began class saying how the YMCA wants teachers to begin all classes with a little chitchat, to help build community.  She felt that the class is already a community of practitioners; we’re non-competitive, open and accepting. In yoga, there’s no judging of either yourself or others.

I thought about community.  Some evil person or group of people decided to turn a couple of pressure cookers into bombs, timed to detonate near the end of the Boston Marathon.

Here’s a community, like Newton, CT and so many others, struggling to find meaning amid chaos.

As the facts are sieved through the rubble, as a perpetrator is discovered, as the injured begin to heal and encounter the many emotional and physical challenges they face, let’s remember community.   Most likely, for whatever reason, who ever commited this violent act against humanity, didn’t feel part of one. Perhaps they’re inhabiting pressure cookers, that don’t allow them to let off steam.


About cyclingrandma

I was a journalist (Danbury News-Times, Ct), before becoming a teacher, and continue to write for professional journals. I have written several study guides for Penguin Books and write for Education Update, a newspaper based in New York City. ( I’ve interviewed many authors, college presidents, and scientists. I wrote “The Kentucky Derby’s Forgotten Jockeys” for Smithsonian Magazine's website, (April, 2009). Two essays have been published in book anthologies; one for Wisdom of Our Mothers, (Familia Books) and the other in “College Search and Parent Rescue: Essay for Parents by Parents of College-Going Students.” (St. Martin’s Press). I was a middle school Language Arts teacher for more than 10 years and have just completed a five year grant position under No Child Left Behind in Newark, NJ public schools. I have three children, two daughters-in law, and six grandchildren. I'm an avid cyclist, knitter, cook, and reader. I love theater, museums, and yoga.
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28 Responses to Commentary: Boston Marathon

  1. Amen. Never owned a pressure cooker, or a crock pot for that matter. Didn’t trust ’em.
    It’s so incredibly scary to think how easy it is to create mass destruction and chaos.


  2. Beautifully written post, to address a horrible, horrible situation. Nice job Lisa!


  3. Nathan Winkler says:

    The runners in Boston are dead for the same reason that people were killed on 9/11. Because the appeasers among us are determined to pity those who commit evil instead of killing them. During the Second World War are grandparents were forced to abandon the falsehood that you can prevent evil by sympathizing with the perpetrators of evil. Instead our grandparents completely destroyed the people and societies of Imperialist Japan and Nazi Germany and thank god as a result of their commitment an enormous force fo evil was removed from the earth. Until we understand that evil is something that requires a forceful response, we can look forward to more murders at more marathons.


    • Ok, but have to find them first.


    • What’s the connection between 9/11, Nazi Germany and the bomb at Boston? Mom’s article, with its emphasis on feeling part of a community seems to me to be all about trying to prevent violence by protecting people from their own anger before it explodes, not appeasing violent members of society after they’re demonstrated as dangerous. My understanding of the Torah is that it certainly promotes having compassion for members of the community who may be dangerous without intervention. Compassion and appropriate action to prevent, reduce or compensate for damages are not mutually exclusive.


  4. Patti Winker says:

    Yes. Community. It means so much more than a place to live. Feeling a part of something bigger than one’s own singularity is what builds conscience. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Lisa.


  5. The pressure cooker analogy sure works. Such a sad event. Thanks for your comments and the push for community.


  6. Well spoken (written)!


  7. judy says:

    A really great commentary Lisa. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.


  8. A thoughtful post and thoughtful comments. Community is something I really believe in and you have all given me a lot to think about here.


  9. Thanks Lisa. Sometimes it is the what we forget. The need to be a part of a community and feel that you are responsible for each other is vital to preventing these acts. I have been in such a unbalanced mood. On Monday, I had an eerie feeling and then this happened. I am hoping that it was just a coincidence. I am using y slow cooker. I do remember my grandmother cautioning us about the dangers of the pressure cooker. We never had blow it’s lid. She was cautious. It was so old. My mother still has one unused and I have one left to us by my late mother-in-law. I do not think I will think of the pressure cooker te same way now.


  10. tchistorygal says:

    You are exactly right about pressure. Different people react differently, and most people don’t handle pressure well, whether perceived or real. Getting to know people is one of the best ways to relieve pressure, though. It works very well with a group of students, no matter what their age. One present I know classifies “chat ’em up” as an actual instructional technique.


    • I wonder if we’ll ever know the story behind these guys’ evil doings. Seems like the younger one had a good education and had assimilated. Very sad.

      On Tue, Apr 23, 2013 at 1:07 AM, cyclingrandma


  11. JSFESQ says:

    You say with great naiveté that “Most likely, for whatever reason, who ever commited this violent act against humanity, didn’t feel part of [a community]”. Just the opposite is true. These miscreants are part of an enormous global community – global islamic terrorists. To attribute their acts of homicidal terrorism to an inability to handle pressure or a lack of belonging to a community shows a gross misunderstanding of their fundamental belief. Even worse, it desecrates the memory of those innocents who died so that radical jihadists could further their cause.
    What we witnessed in Boston, in New York on September 11, 2001, and in many other terrorist acts committed around the world is pure evil in the name of religious fanaticism. These terrorists don’t want to be part of your community. Furthermore, unless you fully accept their religion, they don’t want you as part of theirs; they only want you dead.


    • Thank you for your comments. I agree we need to address global terrorism but I don’t think it will end by mass killing campaigns. That would only incite more violence.

      On Thu, Apr 25, 2013 at 8:58 PM, cyclingrandma


  12. Pingback: Knitting Away the Stress: Not for Women Only | cyclingrandma

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