A Day Later

So they caught him.

I, too, was glued to the TV Friday night and cheered out loud and even clapped when CNN said they got him, then ran down the hall to tell my husband, who was annoyed Bill O’Reilly wasn’t on.

But then my joy turned to sadness and even sorrow, when photos showed the suspected bomber climbing out of the boat, all bloodied and diminished, defeated, despairing.  It’s all over, for him.

I read everything I could get my hands on, how he idolized his older brother and “followed him like a puppy,” as one paper reported it; was happy-go-lucky and a partier, as high school friends described him. 

But what I really wanted to know was why someone, anyone, would do something like this.

I guess it’s as useless – and pointless – as wondering why Adam Lanza shot up an elementary school.  As an old reporter friend at this very paper told me years ago, “You’re not a murderer, so you don’t think like one.”

What was more disturbing, though, was that a terrorist threat to strike “soft” targets had now come true.  Whether those men were delusional psychopaths, or part of a terror network, still, they succeeded in splintering our soft core, our passion, our pride, our most vulnerable place, having a good time on a brilliant sunny day, in a space that did not know chaos, cruelty, catastrophe.

Yes, 9/11 got the ball rolling, but somehow, this almost seems worse. A child killed.  People blown to bits.  Arms and legs everywhere.  On a sidewalk where friends and families were excitedly cheering on loved ones, about to burst with delight.

It’s been a long time since criminals honored boundaries – churches, schools, movie theaters.  But this just one got me in the gut.

We’ll probably never know what went on in their heads, these murderers, other than what a terrorism expert (who I met a long time before the word was more than a noun) called it, “self-radicalizing.”

No matter.

It’s over. It’s done. We’ll go on.  There will be a Boston Marathon next year.  Some who lost limbs might even run.  But once again, as we all well know, America will never feel the same.


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