It sure feels that way sometimes. I’ve often pondered the wisdom of the word “mankind”.
Today, we are all Bostonians. Just as we were Newtowners when the school shooting occurred, just as we were New Yorkers when 9/11 hit.
As I’ve grown older, it has become painfully obvious to me that much of mankind is far from kind. For a few years I held that focus, feeling sickened by the man-inflicted cruelties to children, animals, and each other.
But I also began to notice that with every tragedy there was extraordinary goodness. With all the sadness and tears, somehow came glory and triumph. A wretched exchange, to be sure, but a brilliant lining to a very dark cloud.
It’s enough to know that the evil is there. We don’t have to dwell on its presence. It does, after all, make itself known to us sooner rather than later.
I listened as a runner in the marathon said that God’s grace spared her. I reject that. Loudly. To believe that, would be to believe that God had less grace for those who fell victim to the horror. That is not a God that I would follow. It is just by horrible circumstance that these things happen to us. Life is a crap shoot and our control of it is fictional.
The tragedy in Boston is just the latest of a long list of atrocities we, as a nation, have had to bear. We all know it won’t be the last.
It doesn’t stop the wondering. What kind of person could do this to innocent people? What kind of person lives to kill and maim? The reasoning will forever escape good people.
A mind that deals from logic, and a heart that works from love, cannot fathom the objective of such vile acts as the one we saw this week in Boston. There will never be justification for the murder of an innocent child or the maiming of innocent bystanders. We just can’t wrap our heads around it. So instead, we wrap our arms around each other.
I read this morning about Michael Groffenberger, the VP of the nation’s second oldest jewelry store, Shreve, Crump & Low. Just hours after the tragedy, he nailed an American flag to the balcony ledge of his shop because it wouldn’t hold any other way. His silent stand against the carnage that occurred just one block away from his door. I admire his “in your face” thinking. And I also admire what he did next.
He called his staff and made sure that they would show up for work the very next day, when all the other merchants in the small sector would, understandably, be closed. He told them that it wasn’t about business or sales. It was about being open, not allowing the beasts of terror to shut them down. It was about prideful belligerence. I respect that.
And so, once again, we, as Americans, stand united. Stunned, hurt, bleeding, and crying for our dead and wounded. All of us. Together.
We are a wonderfully stubborn lot. We don’t give up, we don’t give in. We do give to one another our love, prayers, a place to stay, a meal, a helping hand, and a shoulder to cry on. We don’t need to know your name to help you. We are a gracious collection of citizens who are quick to donate our money, time and sometimes the shirt off our backs. Americans are stronger than we appear. A lot stronger. I take tremendous pride in that.
I also take a fair amount of pride in knowing that our law enforcement agencies will pursue with a vengeance the vile scum who inflict harm on our citizens.
The perpetrators had better hope that our citizens don’t get to them first.