Re: Marathon bombing aftermath
posted at 4/20/2013 6:42 AM EDT
With family was at finish and me at Mile 22 as volunteer, when first reports indicated "400 killed" and mobile phones not working, the descent of a sinking feeling is a mild way to put it. Reaching them 20 minutes later found that the call of hunger caused a two blocks detour prior to the bombing. They were among the lucky, and more fortunate. But it was close.
The inevitability of further attacks somewhere in the US was understood prior, but considered unlikely here, so this is a surprise. And, although horrible for us and so tragic, is still mild in severity when considering what London suffered under the IRA, and what various countries continue to suffer under US and British occupation and war, plus the sundry ongoing conflicts where terrorism is a given. We should consider ourselves fortunate and, I hope, awakened.
In response we proved ourselves a nation of law and, rather than flailing out and bombing a far-flung land, this attack was handled as it (and the last one) should have been: a criminal act. Therefore we saw little visible military presence (although patrols overhead were evident), and experienced an astoundingly well-coordinated civilian law enforcement process. A vetting of this process must occur, as there were several others who fell within the dragnet, and I hope the press, once they are complete in delivering deserved accolades, is on it. Nonetheless the commitment was there; the civil leadership did not appear to abrogate their care of the community; the police were careful, respectful, and focused.
For these and other things I am made proud to be here in this place at this time and am so thankful.
Now, we must consider how we should respond as a nation. For the reason that this horrible act was carried out is the Elephant in the room. It, and all the other acts, spring from a swamp of bitterness and hatred that are fed by the continuation of an unsustainably unjust policy around the world and here at home. We still have time to change the course and to restore America's place to one that everyone can rightly aspire. Our community just served to set that standard. I hope, besides speech making, Obama and the rest of our leaders are now actually listening to the message we sent and will respond in an uncharacteristically different way.
We will either see an exponentially more restrictive clam on our basic human and civil rights - advantageously appropriated by partisans - along with an increase in our militance, or we may experience instead a period of calm and measured thinking, follwed by actions that shift our direction to more positive aims. Given past history I remain a pessimist. This tempers my immediate relief.