Boston, MA—(OP-ED) At the finish line of the Boston Marathon, at a time when runners were completing a grueling 26 mile run and racing to the finish to the cheers of friends and family, as support personnel and bleachers of spectators were enthusiastically greeting each contestant with congratulations and applause, a coward (or cowards) of the lowest type detonated two bombs that had been hidden in undisclosed locations amongst the crowd.
Three people died (including an eight-year-old child) and nearly 200 were injured. Lower extremity trauma was the most horrendous injury of all, with many requiring amputations of limbs that had been wounded beyond repair.
It would have been nearly impossible to secure the entire route of the Boston Marathon. The problem with terrorism is that it attacks the most vulnerable and least of those, in unguarded moments. It’s the act of contemptible losers who don’t have the mettle or spine to stand face to face with a perceived enemy and fight them.
Our hearts go out to the victims and their families. There is no room in America for despicable acts such as these. And this tragedy just underscores the fact that true vigilance against terrorism must be done with commonsense measures and not disruptive, Constitution-rending, feel-good laws and policies which do nothing to keep us safe and everything to enslave us.
In the days ahead, more calls will go forward to curtail freedom in exchange for security, most coming from government entities that feel no moral compunction about tearing up the Constitution for political expediency and power. In the aftermath of this horrible event, we must not let ourselves give in to fear. We must realize that it’s impossible to be secure one hundred percent of the time. We cannot guarantee safety to anyone for their entire lives.
We have lived in relative physical isolation from the rest of the world for so long that we have a hard time realizing that we are just as vulnerable as any nation. A shrinking globe of interconnectedness and porous borders has brought terror to our shores in many ways and for many reasons—not all of them comprehensible. But whether we understand the reasoning behind any of these acts or not, one thing we must not allow is enslavement to terror or the government. We must stand firm in our resolve that above all else, liberty must be preserved. Without liberty, the essence of who we are as a country is gone and we allow the terrorists to win.
In a time of financial instability, and personal or national grievances, this tragedy may just be a harbinger of days to come, but we must not double down on those reactions that don’t work and cannot protect us. More laws, more curtailment of our essential freedoms won’t stop another Boston Marathon event. What we must do is move forward, to resiliency, to strong independence in the face of whatever life has to throw us.
We do this by being prepared, by investing locally in our communities and our homes, by learning the arts and ways of life that modern civilization has cast aside as old-fashioned and outdated, by reaching out to those in need when tragedy strikes (as so many did in Boston yesterday, a testimony of the heart of our people), and by standing firm in the face of tyranny or terrorism, whichever face emerges to take advantage of our griefs and sorrows.
As President George W. Bush so eloquently stated after the Twin Tower attacks, “Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts shatter steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve.”
May we always resolve to live free.