Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Grief, compassion, anger and powerlessness to stop what happened in Boston yesterday

Yesterday in Boston, some 27,000 marathoners from around the world (over 100 countries represented) were engaged in a friendly competition, enthusiastic, encouraging each other, supported by family and friends, until....
four hours plus into the race, just about the time when the peak of the bell curve of ordinary runners would be crossing the finish line, two bombs, fifteen seconds apart, exploded on Boylsen Street.
Of course, as part of the 'normal' preparations, there were hundreds of both security staff, including police, and medics to look after the exhausted runners....who quickly shifted the focus of their activities on victims of the shrapnel that rained down on people randomly killing three and sending well over 100 to hospital, many of them with severed limbs.
As an act of political terrorism, if that is what it is, this stands as nothing short of cowardice, and links one of the oldest marathons in the world to the kinds of terrorist acts that are being perpetrated on too many streets in too many cities in too many countries far too frequently. And yet...
No one knows how to stop this madness!
And whether it is an act of political terrorism or not, this is madness, and we must resist the temptation to return madness with madness.
There will be thousands of security checks into millions of back-packs in cities across the United States, and around the world, following this insanity, especially in London where another marathon is about to be run on Sunday. There will be lock-downs in Boston, certainly, and likely in other venues where suspected acts of terror are about to unfold. And there will be forensic scientists poring over millions of objects, video, tweets, facebook entries, and oral accounts of what people saw and experienced yesterday.
And that kind of national security "beavering" is absolutely necessary and appropriate.
However, human beings, including all governments, and organizations dedicated to the enhancement of life on the planet must keep digging into the root causes, into the minds of people who could and would and will again perpetrate this kind of random, unannounced, unsophisticated and stateless horror.
Revenge, hate, powerlessness, jealousy and the kind of mind that obsesses over its own victimhood will inevitably transform itself into a killing machine. Radicalism, as a formal training is also unlikely to stop, given the numbers of people willing and eager to conduct such training, for their own idolatrous purposes....
I hate the kind of world we are leaving to our grandchildren, given examples of human inhumanity as occurred in Boston yesterday. We all hate what happened in Boston yesterday. And we all know that it was one or a group of human beings who conceived, planned and executed this act of what they hoped would be a mass killing, spread instantly around the world on the orchestra of digital media that "play" 24-7-365.
The legal and security systems will have to do their necesary work.
However, when their work is completed, even if the perpetrator(s) are found, charged and found guilty, these acts of terror will continue.
And that is what our collective efforts need to be focused on: the kind of education that brings these violent acts down before they occur, regardless of the intensity of the mental, spiritual or belief systems of the people who would enact them....
Even writing those words, one knows that they are hollow, and unlikely to have the kind of impact that is both desired and needed...
And our own powerlessness, in the middle of our grief and our anger and our revulsion, is what is so appalling...not that we don't care and don't do enough...but that we don't know what to do to stop this violence!

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