On Boston

As I write this chaos continues to assail Boston, even in the wake of the tragic bombing of the Marathon this past Monday. Perhaps the added chaos this evening is related to that bombing. The FBI seemed to be hot on the trail of a couple of suspects today, so it would not be surprising to find out that a shooting at MIT and further police action in Watertown was related to the terror bombing of Monday’s race. Ever since moving to Spain in 1979 I have had to deal with terrorists, bombs, shootings, and all the associated law enforcement that go with the human tragedy of senseless violence in the name of some irrational nationalism or imaginary political ideology. In the end, all you have is dead innocent victims that had nothing to do with any of that fruitless political struggle. Terrorism destroys both the lives of the innocents and their families and the terrorists themselves, who turn themselves into common criminals because they see their only answer to life’s difficult questions to be violence. Since they cannot attack an entire country, they attack the innocent, a slaughter of lambs, if you will, but what they fail to recognize is that no government worth its salt will ever give into terrorists. The police just work all that much harder to destroy the terrorists, which really only means that the prisons and jails fill up with terrorists, the political objectives become obscure or forgotten, and new terrorists are born to take the place of those who are dead or in jail. Terrorism is a snake eating its own tail, self-perpetuating, blind, filled with faulty thinking and irrational objectives, and it turns normal people into common criminals–murderers, thieves, liars. In the end, no one is particularly happy with the results. The terrorists are dead or in jail, their objectives unfulfilled; the victims are dead or grieving for with the loss of a loved one; law enforcement is frustrated because they could never prevent any of it–they only get clean-up duties. The big problem with bombers is that they never really understand that no matter how much they hurt the people they hate, those people will, eventually, bounce back. Those who have died are beyond reach of pain and their struggles are over. Those who have lost limbs will learn to walk again, readjust their lives, have families, love, grow old, and will eventually die of old age in God’s good time. And all those idealistic political agendas will have served nothing, nothing will change, nothing will be achieved but the destruction of some lives. The funny/ironic part about terrorists is that they are just normal people until they let themselves be lead astray by faulty irrational thinking and a belief that political goals can be achieved through violence. Most political extremism is illusory, foolish, irrational, vacuous, superficial, and/or unrealistic. Bombs will never change the basic objectives of a free market capitalism. If fact, I would hazard to say that terrorism does the exact opposite of what it proposes to do and reinforces democratic objectives and strengthens governments and law enforcement. In the meantime, however, our hearts are broken, our tears burn, the lump in our throats does not go away, and we stare at the ground in shame and horror, unable to understand why our world is so imperfect and broken.