Virtually everyone knows that a terror attack was perpetrated in Boston today, marring the conclusion to the Boston Marathon, the definitive distance runner’s race. At the time of this writing, 3 people are dead and several more lie in critical condition, their prognoses unclear.
As a runner of no account whatever and an American of strong Libertarian influence, I am angry, outraged, and, yes, even in the still-shadowed post-9/11 world, more than a little stunned by the arbitrary and cowardly nature of the bombing that injured more than 100 people besides those already numbered.
Such anger cries out for justice in harmony with the victims and their families, the innocent and the maimed. My rage is the greater because the bombing took place on what I consider my home turf: my country, my streets, and my race course, for Boston is either an essential goal or a distant dream of every real runner who has ever laced up his or her shoes.
In fact, an old friend of mine ran the race today. Although he is the best runner I’ve ever known, this was his first Boston Marathon and I took an almost voyeuristic pleasure in plotting his 5K splits as he breezed (as seen over the Net’s sterile typeface) through the course at a pace I can only dream of keeping up. What an accomplishment for my friend, to finish Boston in style, so many years after we talked about it as teenagers at cross country practice. A lifelong vision realized. And now this.
I haven’t spoken to him about today’s events – 30 years down the line we don’t have that kind of relationship any longer – but in his place I would feel the importance of my accomplishment diminished by the horror of the pain and suffering unleashed on the press of innocent men, women, and children who lined the streets to cheer on friends, loved ones, and complete strangers. The accomplishment stands as it is, undeniable, but a blood-stained medal loses its luster and cannot be cleaned. Just as bad, the venerable race itself, an institution older and greater by far than the craven murderers or their ill-conceived ideals, must necessarily be damaged as a result.
This damage, we must understand, is exactly the goal of these poor excuses for human beings: the diminishment of the institutions and accomplishments of those greater than themselves. I say this in complete ignorance of the perpetrators identities but with complete certainty. This is the way of all such brutal, petulant men, the cruel children of a world they can neither understand nor conquer. Unable to compete on their merit of their ideas, these men turn to the only source of power within their grasp, namely wanton destruction.
Among the many things such men fail to grasp are these two: First, that tearing down the works of their bettors is childishly simple and no accomplishment worthy of praise. Any fool with a few dollars, an Internet connection, and a communicable case of the crazies can blow up a bridge or a train or a crowd full of soft targets. Doing so is the ultimate admission of impotence and failure, but for these self-indulgent idea-less ideologues, it is all they have. Bravo, feral sirs, for your efforts. But that I could applaud you in the fine company of my Sig Sauer.
The second point is a bit ethereal but far more important. Simply put, Americans will not allow your kind to triumph. Simply by continuing to live our lives as free citizens of the greatest nation ever to exist, we will disprove the validity of your ideas, your goals – whatever they might be – and your methods of achieving them. It makes no difference who you are. The truth will become known, justice will be meted out, and the American way of life will go on.
One proof of this will be seen in the number of applications sent to next year’s Boston Marathon, which I predict will exceed all previous years, bar none.