Last week, I spent too much time watching the reports of the Boston Marathon bombing.
Eventually, I turned the news off when it became an endless re-telling of all that had been reported several times over.
Still, I came away from the story reassured yet again.
Anger was there too. In large bucket loads.
If you’ve read this column for any amount of time, you can probably form a fairly accurate opinion of what I think of the nutjobs who plant bombs in order to maim or kill men, women, and children who just happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
As I write this, one of the bombing suspects is now dead and the other is still on the run. Apparently, the bombing was an act of terrorism spawned by some bilious belief system that would have you wondering where the nearest rubber room was located and, further, were there any vacancies available. Further, the groups or members of such groups that perform these bombings (“Peoples Aryan Anarchist Weather Underground Reactionary Patriots Eternal Jihad Storm Troopers Brigade”) make you wonder whether they have any actual tethers to humanity.
No matter the individual or group, though, the litany of such events seems endless and the results are always ugly. When the bombs explode, the innocent always suffer in the name of some demented take on religion, race, politics, or what have you.
That said, what reassured me was what I saw in Boston seconds after the bombs went off. Almost instantly — and even before the smoke had cleared — you could see ordinary people running toward the carnage to help in any way they could. They went in alongside the first responders who — by their choice of profession — are always headed toward whatever mayhem has been perpetrated.
The “face” of these ordinary people was best depicted by a middled-aged man — an immigrant — who helped save the life of a victim who’d had both of his legs blown off below the knee. And, right then, seeing all of this, I knew that we were all right. Bloodied yet again, but — as a society — still good.
This is what the bombers will never understand. They can’t comprehend the fact that there are — and always will be — good people in large numbers everywhere.
These demented clowns never grasp the idea that these same good (and, now, very angry) people will never go along with their desires, wishes, beliefs, or demands no matter what harm they may cause. They never realize that such people will be even more determined to go about the business of making a living, raising and educating their kids, worshipping the deity of their choice, arguing the politics of their beliefs, and allowing others to do the same.
Simply put, the idea that such people will never be cowed never manages to bubble through the sludge that passes for thought in the perpetrators’ fevered brains.
Too, they never learn that, within that same group of people, there’s a subset who will quietly go to work. They’re the ones who are detail-oriented, analytically-minded, driven, and patient beyond words. The ones who’ll sift through debris, track down clues, seek chemical traces, review hours of video, and interview countless people in order to find the perpetrator or perpetrators of these acts.
It may take days. It may take years. But they don’t give up — as the most recent alleged alleged perpetrators have now found out.
Ask Timothy McVeigh or Ted Kaczynski. Ask Faisal Shahzad or Eric Rudolph.
Eventually, the second suspect will be captured, and that’s reassuring too. But it’s also when my dark side will make an appearance.
That’s because, there’s a part of me that silently wishes we had a special “it’s time to answer for this one, stud” sentence that could be carried out quickly after he’s been run through our judicial system.
In other words, there’s a part of me that wants him thoroughly interrogated, tried and, if found guilty, treated appropriately and in a timely manner. By that, I mean putting an extra generator on line, firing up “Old Sparky,” and doing it before the next ice age shows up.
And if, one day, I have to explain myself to my creator on that, I’ll do so without any equivocation whatsoever.
Larry Simoneaux lives in Edmonds. Send comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org