It’s always difficult to pen a column in the wake of a nightmare like the Boston Marathon attack earlier this week. On the one hand, it would be relatively easy to write about the righteous fury I’d dearly love to drop like a wrecking ball on the skulls of the perpetrators. That would give me an opportunity to explore the further reaches of my inner avenger. I could rhetorically bellow at the top of my lungs, using lots of similes involving words my mother taught me to avoid and seriously improper use of construction equipment. But any shrieking I might do would be wasted. The victims have bigger worries. The perpetrators either don’t care or enjoy the effect. And life would go on.
I could scratch out some maudlin lament bemoaning the tragedy of innocent lives cut short or damaged forever. I could wail about the damnable unfairness of a world in which such monsters are allowed to prowl. But any crying I might do would be wasted. The victims know how much pain they’re in. The perpetrators think it’s marvelous. And life would go on.
I could point fingers at suspects. I could pick out ideological differences and make wild, cruel, defamatory and even stupid guesses about the identity of those behind the abominable deed. But only a fool would allow his own partisanship to blind him to the real suffering of real people. And only a complete boor would take advantage of such misery to press an unrelated agenda or bloviate about his own bigotries. That’s almost as bad as celebrating a crisis as a chance for self-aggrandizement rather than being respectfully somber. And life would still go on.
Instead, I’ll focus on the heroics of the people at the scene. I’ll cheer those who selflessly rushed toward the catastrophe. I’ll express my wishes that the perpetrators are identified, apprehended and punished in short order. I’ll offer my prayers for those who grieve and for those who suffer. And life will go on.
And I’ll say to those who commit such dastardly acts — and to their fans and enablers — only this: Laugh it up, scumbags. Whether on this plane or the next, you’ll get yours. And it will make ball bearings, nails and forced amputations look like 71 virgins. And despite your best efforts, life will go on.