The Terrorists Didn’t Win: Humanity’s Goodness Still Shines Through at Boston Marathon

Last updated on April 19th, 2013 at 07:00 pm

Boston marathon explosion 2

On the day of a typical Boston Marathon, we would be celebrating the winners, Lelisa Desisa Benti in the  mens’ division and Rita Jeptoo who won the women’s division.  We would be celebrating the fact that this was Rita Jeptoo’s second win in the Boston Marathon. 

Instead, we’re focused on the emerging facts and details of a day marred with tragedy.

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Since Jason Easley first reported  on the explosions at the Boston Marathon, there were conflicting reports about a possible explosion at Boston’s John F. Kennedy Library.  The sliver of a silver lining in this story is we can focus on one terrorist act instead of two separate or related acts of terror.

The facts about the explosion continue to emerge.

The explosions occurred at around 2:50 well after the winners crossed the finish line.  According to reports, the bombs that shattered the carnival atmosphere were homemade. This is what it looked like at the time of the explosions.

One look at the video of the explosion and the aftermath, and you can hear the explosions.  More importantly, you can see the shock, the pain, the horror of people reacting to the sort of thing that you see and hear about happening in war zones – not a sporting event. Even if it is an event that is rich in historic significance here in the U.S.  and because the participants came from around the world, it’s rich in international significance. People from 96 countries participated in the marathon.  As much as this was a sporting event, it was for the purpose of raising money for charity.

Latest reports say that 2 innocent people were killed and 23 innocent people were injured. One of the people who died was just eight years old.  Another innocent child taken by violence in America. We don’t know the extent of the emotional injuries that will be born by people who witnessed the explosion, who saw the carnage of people with lost limbs in anguish and pain. We don’t recognize the scent of terror that comes with the smell, sound and visual appearance of a bomb exploding.

This was Patriots’ Day in Massachusetts as well as the day of the Boston Marathon.  It’s one that no one will forget and will bring nightmares, rather than joyous memories to many. We pray for the people of Boston. We ache with them.

The questions are many. How can anyone do this? Was it political?  Was this act of terror committed by domestic or international terrorists? How many people were involved. Who were they?  Why did they do it?

The facts are scrambled and as chaotic as the scene at the marathon.  In the minutes, hours and days ahead, more information will emerge. Whoever was behind this horrific attack will be caught and brought to justice. 

Here’s what we do know.  All too many people were traumatized by a horrendous and inhuman act . When someone plans to bomb a public event that is rich in national and international significance, it is without question an act of terrorism.

It’s people losing their lives, their limbs and their innocence.  It’s the sound of horror in screams, the shock and the disbelief. It’s the smell of bombs, panic, carnage.  It’s sorrow for the families who are now in mourning on a day that began as one of celebration.  For the injured, it means treatment in the hospital, months of healing from both the physical and psychological wounds.

This is what hate looks like, regardless of whether the person or people responsible were born in the USA or somewhere else.  It’s a day in which more innocence was stolen by someone who hopes that it will be replaced with the sort of hatred that makes it possible to plan something this horrific.  It’s also a day in which we  pray for families and loved ones of the victims.  We  thank God for keeping our family and loved ones who were there, safe and as unscathed as one can be upon witnessing this sort of terror and destruction.

For all the things we don’t know there are a few things that are abundantly clear. This crime was against much that is great about humanity: Sportsmanship, charity, family, and yes, patriotism (not to be confused with nationalism) . We do know that hatred will not prevail.  For all the chaos,  and the fact that this act represents the worst in humanity, the people who went into the smoke to help the injured showed us that the best in us still prevails.

 Image: Billings Gazette




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