Note: I wrote this yesterday morning, after seeing pictures of Boston. I had to do something. I waited till this morning so that I could make sure it was appropriate and not political. There should be no politics involved in tragedies like this. The victims and the people who respond deserve better than that.
I was just leaving the office when the explosions ripped through Boston and the rest of the day my stomach was in knots. I’m not a great runner (I lack the build and the masochism), but my wife enjoys running events and drags me along periodically. We are moving to Boston next month and Jeanette excited to run in this race next year, after we had settled in from the move.
It is hard to believe such a thing could happen, even though I expected something like this before very long. The pictures, of streets my wife and I walked through just a week ago while exploring what will soon be our new home, hit hard. The news stories hit hard. I hate the thought that anyone should have to experience the blasts, the blood, the pain. Finishing a marathon is painful enough. I know because I tried (made it halfway). The thought of scrambling through a crowd, trying to find my wife, praying the worst hasn’t happened, it just makes me sick.
I would feel these emotions no matter where it happened. The shootings in the past year have had similar effects. But the the near proximity of this attack, the thought of how close it was to me, makes the emotions more potent. I feel sorrow for the people who were killed and injured, and their families. I wish that they could be spared their suffering. I wish the depraved people who planted the bombs could have been stopped.
Underneath my sorrow runs a different emotional current. I am an American. My countrymen (and women) can be loud, arrogant, petty, and stupid. I’m certainly no exception. Caught in rush hour, I can understand wishing people did not exist. But I also see Americans demonstrate great courage, generosity, and compassion. Not only for each other, but for people around the world. I can never understand how someone could methodically plan to murder people such as we are.
Anyone who believes that good can be accomplished through the murder of innocents is wrong. Not just wrong, as in mistaken, but wrong-headed. Broken. Their faith has died. They have lost their humanity. The halls of history are filled with memories of people who believed that they could build something brighter on a pile of the slain. Thankfully, we mostly recognize these monsters for what they are. The greatest shame is that it took hindsight to do so.
Monsters. Villains. These people are not angst-filled, dark anti-heroes. These are the people that join anti-heroes and heroes together for the common good.
I believe that they will lose. That the goodness of regular people will triumph over evil. That belief drives my writing. I only wish I could see it more frequently in real life than I already do.