The events of September 11, 2001 forever removed the phrase, “It can’t happen here” from the American lexicon. But as Americans, I hope we will never meekly accept that it does happen here. As I try to gather my thoughts to write these words it is in the hours immediately following the bombings at the April 15, 2013, Boston City Marathon. The shock is still relatively new and the anger has not begun to fully set in.
The twenty-four hour news channels, in their quest to inform the public while lacking substantial verifiable information, play the same eyewitness video again and again. One second everything is normal, even mundane; the next second it is hell on earth. The unblinking camera captures every single second and I watch the footage over and over trying to memorize the scene, watching the faces of those captured on film, and wondering what I would have done in their situation – or if I will face a similar scene in the future. The television pundits continue to misleadingly refer to the area as a “crime scene.” It is a war zone. This was not a “tragedy.” It is terror.
The immediate actions of the crowd are to scream and run. Most run away from the carnage while a few brave souls resist the natural urge for self-preservation and run the opposite way. In a bizarre twist, certainly not taken into consideration by the perpetrators of this evil, many medical personnel are on hand because it is at the finish line of the one of the nation’s largest sporting events. It is especially cruel that these medical personnel would have expected that their most serious emergency of the day might have been dehydration, torn ligaments, or blistered feet. Satan has a dastardly sense of humor.
The first thoughts are of the unknown innocent victims who were just enjoying the freedom of the American lifestyle. The horrific eyewitness accounts tell of victims being blown apart limb by limb. It is something that should not happen to human beings, should not be witnessed by their fellow human beings, and is not done by human beings with a soul. Early reports say that eight year-old was one of these martyrs. In the days ahead we will see angelic family photos, learn the name, and mourn for what might have been – and should have been – a happier fate. And then we will learn of countless more such fates.
A close second thought is the “who” and “why” of this evil action. Will his name be “Bubba,” as those who report from the mainstream media openly advocate in their zeal to pin the blame on patriotic Americans from the Tea Party? Or will his name be “Muhammad,” as so many others immediately suspect, based upon numerous past incidents of this kind? Those in the latter camp brace themselves for the endless barrage of “don’t’ jump to conclusions” and “Islam is the religion of peace.”
The pundits seem to feel that the date of this attack must also have significance. It is April 15th, Tax Day for the nation, but also Patriot’s Day in Boston. It is also the anniversary of the date the Titanic sank. The Psalms say, “This is the day which the Lord hath made, we will rejoice and be glad therein.” But Christ also reminds us, “Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof.” Man is left to make his own freewill choices and take his own actions every day of the week.
We are all left to wonder, “What is next?” In the days ahead we will realize how much our nation has been irretrievably changed once again. One thing is a given: in a new campaign to make us safer, our government will only succeed in making us much less free.
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