Friday, April 19, 2013

An Open Letter to the Boston Bombers

I’ve been thinking a lot about what happened in Boston the other day. Yet another senseless attack on innocent human beings. It can be so hard to even fathom why someone would plant a bomb and attempt to destroy people they don’t know.
Whether we knew them or not, these people were our friends, our husbands and wives, our mothers and fathers—our children. They were attacked in a brutal, crude fashion and we are left once again wondering why.

I grew up learning to hide under my desk, as though that would stop the atomic blast from getting me. We were afraid of nuclear winter then. We were afraid of the Soviets. We outlasted them.

During my early adulthood, I watched as the twin towers fell and I just knew that we would never be the same. I remember vividly walking my daughter in her stroller and I looked up into the sky and I saw a plane flying. And I knew that we would survive. We would outlast this threat, too.

You—and when I talk about you, I mean the terrorist for you are all terrorists—do not get to change us. If you walk into a theater and kill our citizens, we will go to the movies in the next week. We will go to honor the ones who died. If you kill our schoolchildren, we will hold each one close to our hearts. And our children will still go to school and learn and grow. Each life lost is precious and a reminder of the freedom we have.

I’m struck by what we lost in Boston. Three lives and many, many people changed. Many lost limbs. These are the same tactics that cost our soldiers their limbs in overseas wars. These bombs take legs. They take flesh. And then we do something amazing. We rebuild—even our flesh. What began as muscle and bone will be transformed to something stronger. These victims will walk again.

And for the dead? What can we do for the dead? We can remember them. We did not know them, but if each of us chooses a name, memorizes a picture, holds them to our heart as fallen family, then they become something more, something immortal.

What was gained by the act? Nothing. A few moments of fear and terror and then a long, national mourning, but nothing will change in America. We will not hide. It isn’t in our nature. We will run the next race. We’ll take the next flight. We’ll do it just to prove you wrong. If your goal was to bring about change, you’re doing it the wrong way. Violence does not change the United States. Patience and a loving tolerance eventually win out, but violence merely makes us remember that we are in this together.

It makes us remember that we are made of steel and while we will bend to aid each other, we will never break.