Here we are, mourning the victims of violence again. This time at the Marathon in Boston, so many innocent people injured, several killed, and even children the victims of yet another act of violence. We’re all shocked, and it always shocks me even more, when children are involved, though it is certainly hideous to think of the adults injured and killed too. It gives rise to the same questions we face every time one of these incidents happen. The endless why’s, the how could it be’s, the how could they do it’s. The focus shifts only slightly, this time not gun violence committed in a school against 6 year olds, but a bomb explosion that has impacted so many people. And once again, we are stunned by malevolence focused on innocents.
As a nation, we need to ask ourselves, why are guns so easy to access in our society, and apparently one can even find instructions on how to build a bomb on the Internet. It’s been done before. This brings to mind shades of Oklahoma so many years ago. And just like the innocent children who went to school on December 14th, in this case people came from all over for the marathon, well-wishers stood by to cheer them on, and expecting only good clean fun, they sustained life altering injuries or died instead. There is something particularly heinous about attacking people where they least expect it, where they have come together for innocent fun, watching or participating in a marathon, or in a movie theater, a first grade classroom, an Amish one room school house, or on a college campus. We have no idea if this was a highly organized act of terrorism, or the work of a single person gone berserk with an axe to grind of some kind. But why is it so easy, how do these crimes get perpetrated and go unobserved until the damage is done? And now we are left to mourn those who died, and pray for those who are injured.
What is it in our society that breeds this kind of violence? Hard times? Political extremism? Untreated mental illness? Laws that really don’t protect any of us? Is it what people see on TV, or the violence of video games as some people say. It is hard to imagine what causes some people to act out in this way, taking lives and ruining others. How do we feel safe after incidents like these? How do we drop our children off at school and believe that they will be protected and come home at the end of the day? How do we walk across a college campus and not remember these incidents, or walk into a movie theater without feeling a shiver of fear? Or go to a marathon, or participate in one, realizing now that our lives might be at stake as spectator or participant? Where can we still feel safe? At times it seems that we are at risk everywhere, in theaters, on the street, in airports, or hotels. The world seems to have become a sadly dangerous place, not just with personalized violence, but general violence that can touch any of us, in a restaurant, a hotel, or at any public event. And if a marathon was the venue this time, any major sports event could be the opportunity next time. How do we sit in a sports stadium now and not feel panicked? And this time it is more than just about gun control. How do we protect ourselves from people who have so little value for human life? And at what point do we become (or have we already?) a society out of control, a constant target, a violent society which no longer values its fellow man, with total disregard even for the lives of our children. It is somber food for thought, and once again, I extend my heartfelt sympathy to all of those affected, and my prayers. We are all the victims now, our very way of life is affected, our image as a responsible nation has been impacted, and as a result, our country no longer feels safe to any of us, and with good reason. I mourn for us all, and what we lose each time this happens, not just lives, but our very humanity towards each other is in question. I am deeply sad for the victims in Boston, and for all of us.