April 16, 2013

Boston

The day after. Time for things to settle. Time for the shock to morph from numbness to fear to anger ... anger at the person or persons unknown who lit the fuse ... anger at the death of a child ... anger at the horrific injuries that left dozens wounded and maimed.

Who did this? Why did they do it? These questions burn a hole in our in our hearts, but we already know the answers. Who? Another in a long line of cowards who prefer to let other people die for their cause. Why? To impose their morality on the rest of us, for make no mistake about it, people who do this sort of thing are first and foremost people who believe absolutely and totally in the rightness and morality of their judgments about the sins of others. They see evil everywhere but in their own hearts.

The list of suspects is long as the history of the world. There are dozens of groups and individuals determined to punish us for sins that reach in a long, unbroken chain back to an original sin that resides in some dark corridor of our genes, one twist of fate too many.

I have no doubt that the bombings in Boston have their root in some festering grievance, real or imagined, against a group, a government, most likely our own. Already we hear lots of talk about actions undertaken by the U.S. government in other parts of the world that have led to the deaths of innocent bystanders. Yes, this is a conversation that needs to be held. We the people do need to take a long, hard look at what has been and is being done in our name. But acts of violence such as the bombings in Boston only make that conversation harder to hold.

Hear my confession. Bless me, father, for we have all sinned. From cluster bombs to land mines, from armies of God to armies of children, we are all sinners. We need to stop. We need to listen to the voices of the victims. But it's hard to hear those voices above the explosions of bombs.

Hold a mirror to the evils of the world if you must, but don't make us look at them through a gun-sight. When you undertake to commit violence, you become just another moving part in the problem. To be part of the solution means to have the strength to turn away from violence and embrace peace.

This is what the bomb-throwers don't get. Their individual act of violence is not excused by our societal acts of violence. The moral choices we make as individuals have to matter more than what the herd decides. Change has to begin with me, then you, then the next guy. If individually we choose to forswear violence in all its forms, then the group will follow. It's our only hope, our last chance.

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