Life is Good lawyer makes comeback after Boston bombing - "Live your life unafraid"
When I read the story of John Banse's experience surviving the terrorist attack during the Boston Marathon in 2013 in the Life is Good founders' new book, I was deeply moved and wanted to talk with him personally about his trial. Here's a guy who was completely innocent and nearly had his life taken away from him, and yet he's "grateful"! Listen to his incredible wisdom on how to defeat terrorism.Euphrates: So, I lived in Iraq for almost two years and have experienced war zones, but I signed up for that. That was part of the territory. You were an innocent bystander when the bomb went off. Tell me what that was like. You know, that's what I told a group called the Wounded Warriors from Walter Reed hospital who came to visit us after the bombing. You people choose to do this. You go to it, not away from it. You understand this is your occupation.I wasn't running the marathon or anything. I was just trying to get home from work when I saw the first bomb go off and then moments later, an explosion went off right next to me. My first thought was, “Is this the end of the line? No! This can't be the end. I have four kids.”What happened?I had shrapnel throughout my body, hearing loss in both ears, and a torn Achilles tendon. Yet, I was grateful. I knew right away I was incredibly lucky; we already had all the first-responders there for the marathon. The result could have been a lot different.The worst I am going to come out of it is some permanent hearing loss, some shrapnel, and my Achilles. I can’t do a lot of the sports I used to do, but hey, I’m getting old anyway.I can still run. I even ran the Boston marathon the next year in 2014, cheered on by family and friends.What gives your life meaning? Being a dad is my greatest accomplishment and responsibility and what I get the most fulfillment from. I’m glad that how I came through this experience inspired my kids. I wanted to teach them about perseverance.The bombing served as a reminder to me to live in the moment, to enjoy where you are right now--not to dwell on regrets from the past or worries about the future.It’s important to have gratitude! It’s too easy to lose sight of everything we have going for us. I am just thankful to be here, to see the world still spinning around.What about terrorism?Terrorism tries to instill fear into people. The best counter to it is to live your life unafraid. If you think about what happened in Boston, two guys did something horrible and sick. And, in response, the city of Boston and people all over the world responded with love. That love countered that one act of hatred and overpowered it. I just don’t think terrorism can win. To defeat it, all you have to do is live your life. Running the marathon was trying to set an example for my kids but there was also a little bit of “I win” to terrorists. "Yeah, you can set off a bomb and I’ll get up and carry on."The more you respond to them, the more they win. If you move ahead and focus on the future, they lose. My family and I were able to turn something tragic into something wonderful. When we were all there for the next year's marathon, my sister called it the best day in the history of our family. When something bad happens to you, grab it and turn it into something good. You can always take bad situations and turn them into positives.What's next for you?I went back to work as quickly as I could as general counsel for Life is Good. I get satisfaction from helping people figure out puzzles and issues. I enjoy working at LIG, with its fun culture and it comes with a pro bono element with the Kids Foundation, which helps kids who have been impacted by early childhood trauma. We’re not just about the bottom line.I’m moving ahead with my life. The trial brought everything back to life for a time, but it's over now and I'm focused on the future. I want to see my kids grow up and have healthy and happy lives.John Banse is legal counsel for the Life is Good company.