Thu 18 Apr 2013
Reflect. Respond. Rejoice.
The inexplicableness of it all. Either the Boston Marathon explosions were the acts of the insane or the “work” of the unheard. Regardless, innocence is the victim. An eight-year-old child waiting for his victorious father to complete the marathon is . . . what? Murdered. To what end? Because the “voices” had become too loud to ignore and the deranged driven to wreak havoc?
When New York City’s Twin Towers were leveled, it was reasonable to ask why would the perpetrators go to such great lengths, sacrifice their lives in order to kill so many? Some Americans don’t like such questions because it somehow suggests culpability on our nation’s part. That American imperialism, militarism and meddlesome foreign policy were somehow a factor. But you have to wonder, why were equivalent buildings, say, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil not targeted?
To what degree do American actions create the feedback loop that has foreigners lined-up to murder us?
Some anti-terrorism experts were suggesting on Tuesday that the bomb was crudely constructed, perhaps the creation of a homegrown terrorist showing solidarity with his foreign brothers. That would be a disappointing development as the predictable response includes the ratcheting-up of suspicion and surveillance of our neighbors (all citizens indirectly). Identify the culprits as American Muslims and that entire community suffers.
I don’t think it the work of crazy homegrown white boys (see Timothy McVeigh), as a U.S. government building was not the target. These spineless goofs/cowards are quite the puzzling phenomena. America is such a large, diverse nation that you can simply disappear to Obscure, Oklahoma or Remote, Oregon and live the independent life. Why slaughter innocence because the “guberment might take my guns?” McVeigh had such concerns.
That leaves the out and out crazy among us who “saw things in the window. . . heard things at the door.” This, to me, is unsettling. We like rhyme and reason to our explanations. Whenever I hear that someone was murdered, I ask, “Did he have it coming?” Of course that is a joke but we prefer a causal relationship to our violence. A jealous boyfriend. The aggrieved wife. The despondent “fired” employee. The deranged Second Amendment “patriot.” We prefer some underlying explanation—crazy at it may sound to us—for the (any) violence.
I don’t know where the investigation will lead or if “justice” will ever be achieved and truth served. What I do know is that life will go on. Not so much for the harmed but for the rest of us for sure. If your daughter is being married this Saturday, that ceremony of life will occur. Toasts will be offered. Exuberant dancing, perhaps even a Chicken Dance or two will get the attendees on their feet. And the exhausted couple will leave on their honeymoon, perhaps without a thought at all of the unfolding developments in Boston. Blessedly so.
That is one of the dichotomies of living. All of us to varying degrees sublimate the tragedies and sorrows associated with our species, with being alive. Very soon in our development we determine our outcomes. By age seven or eight I realized I wasn’t getting “out” alive. While disappointing—it is—what are we to do about it? As mythologist, Joseph Campbell so cogently observed, “Participate joyfully in the sorrows of the world. We cannot cure the world of sorrows, but we can choose to live in joy.”
Reflect. Respond. Rejoice.