In the aftermath of the Marathon terrorist attack, the loss of innocent life, the horrendous carnage, the compassion and heroism of first responders are front and center in our minds and hearts. But as the investigation of his cowardly act moves forward, the question that will likely surface is, what kind of person would do something like this?
I am sure that police authorities are trying to gather all the bits and pieces of evidence as they look for the killer, but they and we already know something about this person or group of persons. A terrorist, either international or domestic, is someone who is filled with anger and hate directed at the United States government, but it is much more than the anti-government anger, it is anger and hatred directed at the idea of the United States.
We are a nation of free people, generous people, law-abiding people, peaceable people who live in a country with a democratic government, an open government, a government not controlled by a dictator or all-powerful leader.
This terrorist is likely someone who may justify the anger and hatred because of some action taken by the US government, but in reality the thirst to kill people standing and watching a race is really about an insane refusal to accept our way of life, our values, our dreams. This country is a threat to the killer not just because we are involved in a global war on terror, but more importantly because we are a people that won’t change the idea of America and submit to some warped vision of a fanatical alternative.
With anger and hatred goes fear – the view of the killer that this heinous act will somehow strike fear into the American people and force us to cower and apologize. What is great about America is that we are a pretty fearless and resilient people who are don’t cower or apologize. So for a time after the bombing, the people in Boston and indeed throughout the country were afraid, afraid of the unknown. But as the hundreds of stories of people helping people emerge, it is quite clear that fear was short-lived and was replaced with determination and national pride.
The terrorist did achieve the brutal goal of venting anger, releasing hatred and stirring up fear but the outcome of the attack at the Marathon was to renew the spirit of the American way and commit Americans to never change the way they live, the principles that they hold dear or the manner in which they govern this great country.