By Jeff Girod
Last Friday’s capture of a second bombing suspect related to the bombing of the Boston Marathon capped off one of the most memorably stressful weeks in our nation’s history. To recap:
As a nation, we endured Monday’s multiple bombings in Boston that killed three people and injured more than 180. On Tuesday, an Elvis impersonator was charged with sending letters laced with ricin to President Obama and a United States senator. On Wednesday, a Texas fertilizer plant exploded and killed at least 14 people, injured 200 and is being described as one of the worst industrial accidents in ages. On Friday, two suspects in the Boston bombing engaged in a shootout with police that left one man dead and another hospitalized and in custody. Then, to top it off, stocks ended their worst week this year after a pessimistic jobs report.
Now sure, maybe your personal week wasn’t this bad. Or who knows, maybe it was worse. Actress Zoeey Deschanel was mistakenly identified as a bombing suspect by a Dallas TV station. So I’ll bet she (and the TV station) had a case of the Mondays.
Bad things have happened to this country before. Everyone remembers the tragedies related to 9/11. But don’t forget the Centennial Olympic Park bombing during the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995 and the World Trade Center Bombing in 1993.
Historically, Americans have overcome several tragedies—both inflicted and accidental—including political assassinations, civil and international wars, school massacres, natural disasters, two Space Shuttle explosions, stock market collapses and even the White House being burned to the ground.
Consider most of our major holidays: Memorial Day, Veterans Day, Presidents Day, Fourth of July. Certainly these are defining moments of our time, snapshots to be proud of.
But they were not borne without significant courage and bloodshed. And make no mistake. There were some dark days in our nation’s past. And yes, there were even doubts.
This is what you shouldn’t do right now: Blame all Muslims or Republicans or Democrats or even gun laws or President Obama for what has happened in Boston. It doesn’t help or solve anything. It’s not an intelligent or mature argument. And as a world society, it does nothing to help us progress toward a rational and productive solution.
Why do terrorists acts happen? Because awful things happen all over the world and sometimes they happen here. Because it’s impossible for 7 billion people to live together on one planet without them sometimes crashing into one other.
The entire world is suffering. Right now thousands of men, women and children in other countries—families just like the people of Boston—are dying from the same vicious attacks of terrorism.
According to a report presented to Pakistan’s Supreme Court in March, more than 5,152 Pakistani civilians have been killed by bombers since 9/11 and another 5,678 have been injured.
Think back during your own life. Consider all of the challenges you endured and the mountains you climbed; the loved ones you lost to illness or addiction, or even heartache.
I have lost several people, suddenly and in waves. It’s never easy.
There was also a time in my life when I was laid off from my job, then a girlfriend told me she was engaged to another man, then I found out my dog died—all within a timeframe of about 90 minutes. That’s not even a bad day, that’s a Dwight Yoakam country song.
But you know what? Eventually I got over it. Because what other choice did I have?
As a nation, we will heal from all of this. We have to. We will be paranoid and irrational. We will probably say some regrettable things and accuse all the wrong people of all the wrong things—just like we usually do. Most of us will definitely put confusing stickers on our cars or try to show some kind of pointless and misguided solidarity on our Facebook pages.
I pray we captured the right suspects connected to the Boston Marathon bombings. And if there are more bad guys out there, hopefully we’ll get them, too.
Chin up, America. We’ll get through this. We have to, right?
Contact Jeff Girod at firstname.lastname@example.org.