Why did this happen? Why on Patriots Day when we honor our forefathers who set this nation on a course where freedom and rights are held so dear? Why at the birthplace of that fight for freedom? Why at a time when thousands would be gathered in the streets to cheer on the runners of the Boston Marathon?
We hope these questions can be answered from the scant clues left by the perpetrators of this cowardly act. Those answers are important. Was it the work of a deranged individual? Was it a retaliatory strike by an individual or group for actions far from our borders?
Such evil in our midst is difficult to comprehend. It is more than the lives lost and the people maimed for life.
Our hearts and prayers go out to them and their families. As a nation, compassion is one of our greatest assets. In times of tragedy, natural or manmade, at home or abroad, we look to help the afflicted. We comfort. We give. We share the pain.
We have that capacity and we will do that now. But this time is also different.
This has been a violation. Even as our doors open to immigrants who build, even as we accept the ideas outside the main stream, we feel betrayed. It feels personal, as if someone invaded and rummaged through our homes. We don’t know who. It could be a stranger. It could be a family member, someone we trusted. We don’t know. A bit of our security and our sense of home has been taken from us. There is anger. There is hopelessness. There is sadness.
Can it be repaired? Is there the power to forgive?
The answers lie in the future. The fear is that, in our fear, we sacrifice the freedoms those runners, and all those who came to cheer them on, were celebrating Monday. That is why knowing why is so important.