This time it was bombs going off at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. As I write this, those responsible for this unbelievable act of cowardice and cruelty have not been identified. I hope they are soon to be found and the journey to some kind of justice has begun.
But what is justice in incidents like this? Nothing can bring back those who were killed or restore those whose lives were changed forever. No amount of legal maneuvering can heal the emotional wounds of those who witnessed the fear and carnage created by this act. Lives have been permanently altered. Even those of us half a continent away, have been affected.
At times like this our differences matter little. We are one as members of the human species. Yet, in that feeling of unity and commonality, we must face that one of us, one or more fellow human beings, could somehow perpetrate this unfathomable act.
But, instead of focusing on the twisted virus that committed this act of evil cruelty, I prefer to focus on the many acts of heroism, help and kindness that followed. Medical, fire and police personnel, even racers and other spectators ran toward the blasts and those injured, giving little thought to the fact that they could have been running into the face of danger. And many of those who were hurriedly scurried away from the crime scene showed up at Boston hospitals offering to donate blood for the victims.
After Google set up a page to help people locate loved ones, it was flooded with offers of help, of home, of hearts breaking open with the desire to reach out, to come together, to restore whatever semblance of oneness that remained.
We can’t let those who wish to fracture our freedom and suppress our sense of safety win. They may succeed in doing that temporarily. But what they can’t ever take from us is our compassion and love for one another. If that is the hope of those who wish to terrorize us, then maybe those images of people running into the smoke and danger to help strangers offers some small piece of justice.
We will never forget the horror of this cowardly act, but let’s also never forget the bravery and love that followed it.