Yesterday it happened yet again. Evil emerged from the shadows to kill, maim and strike fear into innocent, unsuspecting civilians.
As the source of the evil emerges from the gray dust, more truths will became self-evident. Another nihilistic psychopath with an atrocious history has unleashed his hatred and fury upon mankind. The only thing separating the Marathon bomber from Osama bin Laden or from Polly’s killer is scale. As he lurks in the darkness, he justifies murder and mayhem through twisted reasoning just as bin Laden deftly wielded his considerable powers to convince young men to die in his stead, just as Polly’s killer lurked in shadows waiting for opportune moments to convince little girls that he meant them no harm.
Perhaps an unknown slight inspired the hatred that scarred the finish line in Boston and caused so much death and destruction, just as the mad Arab used religion and inequality to excuse and justify murder, just as Polly’s killer used drugs and alcohol. One thing is certain; they all commit heinous crimes for instant self-gratification, without consideration for the consequences of their actions. Like all psychopaths, they lack conscience and consideration—therefore they have no empathy for the children they murder with impunity.
It is inevitable that given the chance, such men will strike again. They cannot be successfully treated or cured; therefore they cannot be trusted in negotiation or surrender. Hatred finds its own depth when children become viable options for death. The twisted logic of the psychopath predictably asserts his cowardice through his declaration to destroy the future rather than attempting to convert it.
We shake our heads in dismay as we battle this moral depravity by holding our children closer, loving them more, reassuring them constantly, and demonstrating strength and courage through example.
Through this act, society redefines not only its role models, but its heroes as well. Overpaid actors and athletes are replaced by men and women in working class uniforms and stay-at-home moms. When we collectively muster the courage to stare the devil in the eye, we challenge rather than yield to his adversity. Yet our anxieties are not easily alleviated, for the lessons of the Boston Marathon or World Trade Center are stark and vivid: Even the most celebrated sporting event or formidable edifice can be reduced to gray dust in less than a minute.
Terrorism comes in many guises and is predictable only in its depravity. Whether it is the baby killer or the holy warrior, the end result—an unyielding march toward destruction—must be acknowledged and addressed or we become indentured to violence and slaves of fear.
Memorial services will continue to correctly honor the victims of the Marathon massacre as a nation’s gratitude will honor its heroes. Right now a million candles, lit in homage, create beacons of light in the darkness. If we fail to eradicate evil, the candles will flicker out and we will be enveloped in darkness forever more.