Tuesday, April 16, 2013

'N' is for Needless Violence

I was all set to write about something witty and shallow when I heard about the bombings in Boston. So I redirected my thoughts and today is devoted to those who were there, those who were injured, those who lost their lives needlessly.

Fear, in my opinion, is the worst of all emotions. It drives us far from reason. But those who inflict fear through acts of terrorism do more than just incite fear. They take from us the one thing we all value - the illusion of civility.

It's all well and good to hear about bombings in the Middle East and Europe. We've made ourselves immune to the unstable environment in those locations. Americans are the original NIMBYs. (Not In My Back Yard.) Wars are fought elsewhere, riots happen elsewhere. Until 9/11 we considered ourselves an impenetrable fortress, a continent unto ourselves. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Was this an act of terrorism? Absolutely. The more important question is: was this foreign or domestic terrorism?

Americans have gradually gotten used to the idea that people around the world hate us for no other reason than we are Americans. That we can handle. But to think someone within our own borders would cause such senseless violence is terrifying. We are all one, aren't we?

The role call of violence in America since the 1990s is shocking: Waco, Oklahoma City, Atlanta Olympic Park,  Columbine, Virginia Tech, Newtown. But wait, you say, some of these were shootings, not bombings. That doesn't matter. An act of terror is designed to create fear and damage. All of these accomplished that mission.

As a nation we must be ever vigilant to keep those who seek to destroy us, whether from without or within, from seeing the true legacy of their actions. Are we content to let ourselves become the doormat of the planet, or will we rise up stronger and more resolved? Only "We, the People" can make that determination.

Rise Up America and take back our Happiness. Remember those who have given their lives to these senseless acts and never let their sacrifice go uncelebrated. They are the ones in whose name we carry on. Let's make them proud.