Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Opinion

April 21, 2013

Don't let acts of terror crimp life's positives

Why?

Was it the airing of a grievance? A high-profile bid to make a geopolitical point? The creation of chaos for its own sake?

Perhaps there’s an explanation for why two brothers detonated two bombs along the route of the Boston Marathon. We’re willing to listen. Full disclosure: We’ll probably find the answer insufficient.

“It could have been worse” has been a common, glass-half-full reflection on Monday’s attack in Boston, and that view has some merit.

The human cost would have been much greater were it not for shifting crowds and timing. Speaking from our own little patch on the globe, The Goshen News was relieved to hear that all the runners from our area, and their families and supporters, were unharmed.

But “could have been worse” is small comfort to the loved ones of the three people — including an 8-year-old boy — killed in the attack. It doesn’t heal the 180 people who were wounded.

It also prompts a question, as we move on with our lives: Will it be worse the next time?

That’s a reasonable thing to ask. Still, brooding on that grim “What if?” can also cripple us with fear, and make life so much less than it can be.

The News isn’t against caution or reasonable security measures in place at public events, venues or airports. Security advisers have learned what works best most of the time.

In the free society we call home, though, there’s no such thing as perfect security. Large-scale gatherings — like life itself — will always come with the hint of risk. Trying to ensure complete safety at all times would be a near-Orwellian folly. It would also break the bank.

Andy Williams is a teacher at Northridge High School. He’d been training all winter to compete in the Boston Marathon. His efforts were rewarded when, after 26.2 miles, he was the 68th man to finish the course. Williams did that in a personal best time of two hours, 28 minutes.

Williams knows all too well what happened after his achievement. We think he also has the right perspective on the attack — and how to move forward.

“It’s not going to deter me from my desire to do things like this in the future,” Williams told The News. “You can’t live in fear because of something like this. There is just so much positive out there, it’s just an incredible shame that something like this had to happen in such a positive environment...If you let it get to you, that kind of means they win in the end.”

Let’s not let them win.

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