Big-city road races are one of the great delights of life, so it is with deep sadness that I have been reading about the Boston Marathon tragedy in the last couple of days. My thoughts and prayers have gone out to the victims of the bombing and I certainly have felt a good deal of shock as well. I’ve never run Boston before, but I have run the Chicago marathon and also countless other 5k and 10k road races. The finish line is normally a place of great exhilaration and accomplishment. So it is with particular grief that I think about the mindset of evil that could have masterminded a random act of violence of this kind – an act whose sole purpose seemed to be to kill or maim the greatest possible number of people at a time of great festivities.
On the whole I have been very grateful to the Bush and Obama administrations for the efforts that they have made to cut down on terrorist attacks in the United States over the last decade. There have, of course, been policy missteps along the way. But on balance the government of this country has done a very good job of protecting its citizens from senseless violence of this kind. For this I am thankful, and I think that many other Americans feel thankful as well.
Indeed, part of the shock of this horrific act comes from the fact that I am not accustomed as a citizen of the United States to random acts of terrorism. This is not Syria, or Iraq, or Afghanistan, or even Israel or Northern Ireland. So many times I have just gone to work, done my routine, and lived my life in a way that has taken for granted the normalcy of my surroundings. At times like this it is good to remember the brave men and women who devote their lives to fighting evil and giving me (and others) this daily peace of mind – the policemen, the firefighters, the soldiers and sailors, and the counterterrorism officials in our midst. I am deeply thankful to them for their efforts to keep their fellow citizens secure from evil.
In the meantime, my thoughts are with the victims in Boston. God of peace, we pray to you for those we love, but see no longer: grant them your rest; let light perpetual shine upon them; and, in your loving wisdom and almighty power, work in them the good purpose of your perfect will. Amen.