April 18, 2013 | Vol. 116 -- No. 52

Finding the roots of the Boston bombing

Write to the Point

So here we are once again my friends, drenched in blood from a terrorist act in our own backyard, bomb-induced fireballs on our city streets.

We’ve seen the headlines: three dead, 176 injured in two bomb blasts near the end of the prestigious, 117-year-old Boston Marathon. Broken, sliced bodies lying in streets awash in blood, building debris mixed with backpacks, frantic rescue workers and law enforcement running to and fro trying at one time to make calm a chaotic situation while getting people the hell outta’ there.

By the time you read this we’ll know more, but as I write we already know something about the two devices that violently disrupted an event meant to celebrate the human spirit embodied in athletic endeavor. Police know the bombs were sophisticated devices, using pressure cookers stuffed with ball bearings meant to shred and tear living flesh once detonated.

Maximum destruction carried out through minimum detection and financial outlay.

I’m sure we’ll find out even more. Was this the work of Islamic Jihadists, or Neo-Nazis? A disgruntled employee, although this I doubt.

And once again we will ask the question – why? The comment I found most interesting came from a local runner competing in the race, West Valley School District counselor Jody Shapiro.

“It’s part of the tragedy – why they would target such a happy and fun festival that is completely not political in any way,” Shapiro said in Jonathan Brunt’s story in the Spokesman-Review. “It’s just about running, about a town getting together to support the run.”

But that’s kind of the point with modern-day terrorism, isn’t it? Don’t go after the root of your anger, or engage their supporting agents. Rather, strike at the innocent, the harmless, those you believe enable the situation fueling your anger through their obliviousness to its actuality, real or perceived.

Strike at the perceived guilty. Strike to create terror, not only with thoughts of “It could be me next” as we walk into a favorite bistro, but also “What have I done to deserve to be attacked and killed at a road race, a Martin Luther King Day peace march?’

There are many things governments, including ours, do on our behalf that if we found out about we’d be aghast and infuriated someone would even think we would condone such behavior or policy. And it doesn’t matter which party controls the halls of power, the presidency or other singular leadership position.

It just goes on.

And as it goes, it compresses in those it marginalizes and creates desperation. It heightens paranoia in those prone to seeing conspiracies and black helicopters. It compromises the soul with cowardice and false bravado, leading to the destruction we witnessed in Boston, at the World Trade Centers.

I don’t know how we’ll respond to Boston. It may depend upon who carried out the deed.

What I am certain about is there will be those who clamor for changes that will further erode our once precious freedoms in the name of safety. Some of those might be warranted, and most definitely justice must be served on those who perpetrated such a heinous act. Violence as a solution is never acceptable.

But maybe, just maybe, it’s time we stop, step back, and find out why people are so mad in the first place.

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