The tragic bombing at Monday’s Boston Marathon was senseless in all respects. Three were killed and 176 wounded, at least nine of whom were critically injured. An eight-year-old boy died; his mother and sister were severely wounded. A Boston University graduate student was killed, as was a 29-year-old female caterer. Such random violence has its own strategic impact and, no doubt, the imprint on the lives of those most directly involved will last a lifetime. The incident also will be remembered for years to come on this anniversary — but probably not in the ways the assailant(s) intended.
Yes, there were moments of terror. Yes, lives will be changed and personal hardships will have to be overcome, and perhaps even the way the nation holds big races like this will be altered to protect against future assaults. Backpacks and gear bags near the finish line will likely be a thing of the past.
But will the national psyche be more timid to be out and about? Absolutely not. On the contrary, when tragedy strikes, the national psyche is to rally around those hurt, form tighter communities, and become more dedicated to fight back against such madness.
Said Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., on Tuesday: “During the marathon we are one family. We cheer for each other, we carry each other across the finish lines. And when tragedy strikes, we are also one family. We hurt together, we help each other together.”
For runners at such events going forward, the races (for a time) will be done not with a sense of foreboding, but with a sense of defiance and the personal pride of not shrinking from fear of the unknown. We do such events for the love of living life fully; threats to undermine that will forever be met and overcome with a stronger sense of community and purpose.
“I’ll be back, of course,” said Tim Walline, 48, an eye surgeon from Kansas City, Mo., who ran in this year’s race. “Don’t let the bad guys get the upper hand.”
Angelo S. Lynn