This has been a hard week for the United States, and a hard week for Bowdoin. The American flag flew at half-mast in honor of those who were killed and injured in the Boston Marathon bombings, some of whom had close ties to the Bowdoin community. No sooner had the Orient confirmed the safety of over 100 alumni and students in the vicinity of the bombs on Monday evening, than did we learn of the death of beloved alumnus and former Orient columnist Jose Cespedes ’12, who lost his battle with liver disease last Friday. And as the editorial board convened yesterday evening, news broke of continued bloodshed in and around Boston like an unending nightmare.

The violence, terror, and loss that has marked the past few days and hours has forced us to take a step back and reflect on the fragility of life and the senselessness of random violence.

The marathon finish line, where the bombs went off, is just one mile from the street named for James Bowdoin, a testament to the College’s deep roots in Boston. With almost a fifth of the student body hailing from Massachusetts, the unfolding tragedy hits close to home. Many students from the state are affectionately known around campus as “J.O.B.s” for hailing from “Just Outside Boston.” They had friends, parents and neighbors in the vicinity of the bombs, and spent hours on Monday afternoon anxiously wondering if their loved ones were among those killed or injured in the attacks. This morning, many students will wake up to the news that familiar streets around Watertown and Cambridge are the scene of a massive manhunt for a suspect in the bombings. This week, “just outside Boston” took on a new meaning.

With the indiscriminate nature of life’s misfortunes painfully evident before us, how can we move forward from these tragedies?

Perhaps we should take a cue from Cespedes, who, in one installment of his column, urged Americans to unite in taking a stand against gun violence after former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot at a small meet and greet in suburban Arizona. “In the midst of the tragedy surrounding the event was an opportunity for Americans of all lifestyles to come together and stand up for the distinctly American way of life,” Cespedes wrote. “The willingness to use violence and disregard the rule of law and conscience of civility, however, remains just as egregious today as it was a decade ago.” The Boston Marathon bombings were a horrific catastrophe that reminded us of the extent to which we entrust our saftey to those around us. We cannot prevent future attacks from happening, but we can take action to limit access to the weapons with which they are carried out.

On Wednesday, the Senate halted bipartisan legislation that would have instituted background checks prior to firearms purchases. It is heartbreaking and frightening that lawmakers continue to refuse to pass this measure as more Americans are killed by gun violence every day. The only way to move forward is to unite in support of the victims of the attacks, and to continue with our daily lives while settling for nothing less than the staunchest gun control measures.

Bowdoin is deeply rooted in Boston and shares much of its history. So too do we share in the shock and sorrow of this week’s events, and stand strong with the city of Boston and its people.

The editorial represents the majority view of the Bowdoin Orient’s editorial board, which is composed of Nora Biette-Timmons, Garrett Casey, Linda Kinstler, Sam Miller, Sam Weyrauch and Kate Witteman.