Every tragedy seems to carry with it that one image that becomes iconic because it gets splashed across television screens worldwide, and in newspapers from Calcutta to California.
For Monday night’s terrorist attack at the Manchester Arena, at an Ariana Grande concert, of all places, the image is that of a teen-age girl being helped outside the venue (See above).
Her pants have been cut open, her knee has been wrapped up, blood streaming down her left arm.
But what grabs you – what hits you right in the heart – are the faces inside the photo.
The girl’s face. The face of another girl – a friend, perhaps? – behind her. To the left, a bystander looks stunned. Even the faces of the police woman helping this young lady seem stunned.
What the hell just happened?
My heart sunk when the news alert hit my Twitter account.
All it said was an explosion rocked the Manchester Arena after an Ariana Grande concert.
We knew. We all knew. It took a couple of hours, but we all knew what was coming.
Yet another piece of shit in this world’s Us vs. Them battle decided to attack.
Only instead of flying planes into a building filled with some of the greediest, money-loving adults on the planet, this one decided to attack our children.
OUR FUCKING CHILDREN!!!!!
This is the world we now live. Just when you think it can’t get any worse, it does.
Our children are now terrorist targets. As if sending them to school here in the United States isn’t dangerous enough.
When terrorists opened fire and blew things up at the Bataclan theater in Paris, raining terror down on an Eagles of Death Metal concert, it shocked the world.
It was the next salvo in attacking soft targets and adults everywhere went into the next concert with their eyes wide open.
I know I did.
I’ve been blessed to see 98 concerts in my life and have never felt unsafe inside a venue. Walking in and walking out, though, you realize how easy it would be to pull off an attack like Mondays.
On Feb. 17 of this year, I walked into the Mohegan Sun Arena, to take photos of Ariana Grande.
I got a first-hand look at her audience and, for the most, they were children. They were little kids no doubt going to their first-ever concert. They were teenagers who idolized Grande for her ability to sing and act and dance. They were college-aged fans who undoubtedly watched Grande grow from a child actor on Nickelodeon’s “Victorious” or “Sam and Kat” into the actress who wowed a nation in a live performance of “Grease.”
They were people just like 18-year-old Georgina Callander, a person who could “light up a room,” according to friends. She was the first victim identified out of the 22 who were killed.
Who would attack this crowd? And why?
Because they can.
In the wee hours of the Manchester morning, Grande took to Twitter to send a message to her fans: “broken. from the bottom of my heart, i am so sorry. i don’t have words.”
None of us do.
This is a broken world and the hatred is too strong, coming at us from too many angles.
It’s wrong. Just wrong.
And now our children are dying.
We are left with lasting images that will remind us of the carnage that occurred, wondering when it will end even as we fear what is coming next.