How will we ever be able to accept this world that is evolving around us? Learning to respect diversity is kicking the world’s butt. I’m not talking about skin color here either; I am talking about religions and cultures and entire belief systems; I am talking about the ways the various the peoples of the world behave in their everyday lives. There are such differences between us sometimes and yet we are also all human beings and as such seem so familiar to each other. In a way we dread the day when all our differences have been assimilated away, but in other ways, if this ever happens, we wonder if a certain peace will then reign among us.
It appears that it is possible that problems with diversity have given the city of Boston and all of America a really terrible week. Men who were practically children brought a proud city temporarily to its knees. Men who seemed to have become Americans were apparently enemies of America living in our midst. They killed four people and maimed or wounded many others. They chose to attack during a healthy American sport, the Boston Marathon, at a time when there was crowd. They gave us two gut-wrenching days in one week. It must have been excruciating to live in Watertown, Massachusetts on Friday, April 19th. It was certainly difficult even to watch it on TV.
I hope these brothers thought they had a good reason because they certainly didn’t have a good plan. They had no way out. Were they planning to just go back to their old lives as if nothing had happened; as if we do not live in a time of security cameras and technicians who can make some sense of the most of garbled output? They were seen back in their neighborhood and it looked like they hoped to hide in plain sight. How bizarre is that? When they saw that it might be necessary to get out of town they had to hold up a 7/11, hijack a car, and force a hostage to tap his ATM account. None of this desperate behavior worked; the older of the two brothers was killed and the younger brother gave Boston a terrible Friday, although not nearly as bad as Monday.
Is it wrong to have “sympathy for the devil”? Put a 19 year old terrorist against an 8 year old whose life was ended way too soon and it is clear that we must reserve most of our sympathy and our grief for the innocent 8 year old. Yet we learned a lot about Suspected Terrorist #2 today. We learned he was from one of the nations that popped back into view when the Iron Curtain fell. We learned that he had lived in America for a decade and that he had become a citizen not long ago. We learned that he had friends in high school and he was a wrestler and he was generally liked. We learned that he was in college. The young man who started to emerge from anonymity does not make sense as a terrorist and yet he is one.
This young man took the lives of others and now his life will most likely be spent behind bars. After this really tedious and nerve-wracking day I think we are all glad that this guy was taken alive because we want explanations. The boys’ father might never have believed in his son’s guilt if the police had killed him. What we don’t need is to turn a father into yet another hater, although we all believe that if the police had to kill the son it would have been justified. My goodness, that were a lot of law enforcement professionals and they followed protocol to a “T”, but it was freaky from far away and it must have been really surreal from up close. What a week! I truly hope this is not the new normal and that we get the hang of tolerating each others’ diverse ways very soon, but I can’t help thinking that we are in for a rough ride.
We will remember you: Martin Richard, Lu Lingzi, Krystle Campbell and Sean Collier.