The times that we live in have the great potential for immeasurable good and unthinkable evil. The benefits our advances in technology bring to us bridges wide distances to grow closer, but also makes the world a much smaller and more dangerous place. Today, as many were actualizing months of training in a peaceful show of athletic skill and human endurance tragedy struck. As the bulk of the well-trained marathon runners were poised to cross the finish line in the world-famous Boston Marathon twin blasts ripped through the crowd and through the runners, burning skin, tossing limbs; changing and ending lives.
While details are still developing, it takes a certain naivety to exclude or deny the likelihood that this was not an accident; some truly evil act of man against his fellow man. Reports indicate that an additional undetonated device was found and disposed of around the blast area which eradicates any possibility of some freakish gas-line explosion or other terribly unfortunate happenstance and firmly places this as a cowardly act of violence against truly unsuspecting innocents. The perpetrators of this heinous act will see their day—whether it is in court or at the end of a strike team’s barrel—though it may take a seeming eternity to track down and engage, or even identify these subhuman creatures, wrapped in the trappings of men.
While these villains are hunted and outed or until a group takes responsibility for these acts it is important that we remain in solidarity and refrain from hasty conclusions. While the Obama Administration refuses to use the term “terrorism”, we should refrain from falling into the world of euphemism that softens the abominable act of using death and fear as a political expedient to “man-made disasters”. The term does little to illustrate the effect of such acts and cuts them from their root—parties seeking power using violence as a podium. Federal investigators don’t shrink away from the word and classification…and for good reason. The word “terrorism” isn’t a dirty word, it’s an apt descriptor for an act of evil.
However it is important to remember that “terrorism” doesn’t necessarily implicate a particular kind of perpetrator other than a “terrorist”. There are those who are quick to lump all terrorists into the same category as islamo-fascist and extreme Muslim jihadists—the terrorists du jour of our age. Arab and Muslim terrorists don’t hold a monopoly over these kinds of acts, however, and it is important that while we are awaiting a particular cell, group, organization, or wildly angry lone gunman that we keep that in mind. I remember clearly directly following the bombing of the Oklahoma Federal Building in Oklahoma City my family denouncing it as an act of “the Arabs” without doubt. We would do well to remember that it was not any kind of Arab in Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols’ execution of innocent souls 18 years ago on April 19th, 1995. Nor was Eric Robert Rudolph in his 1996 bombing of the Atlanta Olympic Games.
We would do well in the face of this Boston tragedy to remember that the incendiary individuals behind this awful explosion really needn’t have any demographic other than deranged, evil, and inhuman. Any other indicator is just rationalization on the part of evil people to make real the evil that is in their hearts and minds. To immediately point the finger—no matter how likely in the court of public opinion—at this group or another. Evil doesn’t have a religion and insanity doesn’t choose its avatars based on pedigrees. It may very well be that the Terrorists in question come from a foreign, even radial Islamic, group like Al Qaeda but they might just as soon be home grown angry white men. There is no evidence one way or another at the moment, so it is important that we remember to rally against the deed rather than a creed…or better yet give our support and prayers to the victims and their families while they try to pick up the shattered pieces of their lives and find a way to fit terrible and unforeseen events into their lives. It would be all too easy to focus our outrage and anger at an enemy, but it would be even more useful and beneficial to focus our humanity to those who need our support and strength.