This may sound a bit odd. But when Monday’s Boston Marathon bombing occurred and the news began to get out, the feeling I had was sort of, nothing.
Yes, I have seen and heard and read enough television, newspaper accounts and news web site stories on these acts of terror to leave me with the feeling of, “eh.” And that’s not an “eh” of who cares, but more an “eh” of when does this stuff ever stop? Newsroom folks on Monday spoke of what President Obama would say when he addressed the nation and almost word for word they were right. And that’s no knock on the president.
There were the promises of bringing the terrorists to justice, the country standing side by side with those people in Boston, the fact that Americans won’t be swayed by those who commit these acts of cowardice. It’s almost the same script each time these things happen.
The sad reality, though, is that these things will happen again, again and again. And each time they happen there will be the tragic stories of people like little Martin Richard. Martin, an 8-year-old from Dorchester, Mass., was killed in the blast. His mother and sister were seriously injured. They were there as their dad ran in the historic race.
The discussion Tuesday here with another editor was that of timing. Martin’s father has to be wondering had he been a few minutes earlier or a few minutes later his son may still be alive and his wife and daughter possibly uninjured. His guilt must be too much to take and I can understand that.
Back in 1996 I went to the Summer Olympics in Atlanta. In case anyone forgets there was a bombing there as well. Bombings and other terrorist acts are not new. Unfortunately bombings go way back. But it’s become over the years very, very scary because we use the words “terrorism” and “terrorists.” Anytime we hear those words, we get scared – for good reason.
The whole purpose of terrorist acts is to scare us to death, to make us change our ways of living, to force us inside our homes afraid to go on with our daily routines out of fear.
I remember the Atlanta bombing very clearly. I was there with my son and we walked probably dozens of times in the area where the bombing took place. And honestly it could have happened any of the times we walked through the archway that separated one area of the Olympic village from another. But luckily it didn’t – at least for us. Not so much for others as two people died, and 111 were injured.
It turned out later that a man charged with three other bombings was arrested and is serving four life sentences for the Atlanta carnage.
But in another twist of timing, police officer turned security guard Richard Jewell alerted police at the Olympic village of the pipe bomb that caused the damage and people were evacuated but not before the bomb went off. First Jewell was considered a hero and then a suspect. He later sued several media outlets and the college where he was employed. Following the arrest of the man actually charged with the Atlanta and other bombings, Jewell was officially cleared by the governor of Georgia and again hailed as a hero.
So it’s all about the timing. If little Richard Martin had not run to hug his dad, if Richard Jewell had not found the pipe bomb in Centennial Park, if officials in 2001 had flagged some of the 19 terrorists who were part of the 9/11 tragedy, if anyone had listened to the psychiatrist who treated James Holmes who told campus police a month before the Colorado theater attack that Holmes had homicidal thoughts and was a danger to the public, if, if, if, if.
We can “if” all of our lives away and when we do, those who seek to inflict fear win the battle. It’s terrible that the little kids in Sandy Hook were killed by a guy running through their school with guns, it’s terrible that college campuses have to fear people with weapons running around shooting people. But it’s not just guns. There are all sorts of weapons of fear and terrorism.
Folks, we have to face it that our world is screwed up at times. And I don’t have a clue what to do about it except just keep plugging along. However, I would love to at some point stop having these “eh” moments. How about you?
— Andy Hachadorian