Sunday, April 21, 2013

Belief Systems

I can’t believe it’s April 21, and it’s still cold enough to wear a winter coat.

This is not the same kind of I can’t believe as in I can’t believe the city of Boston virtually shut down commerce and community yesterday in search of a Boston Marathon Bombing suspect. The former is spoken in my head with casual indifference; the latter resounds echoes of assurance.

I wish I had been able to say I can’t believe someone or two would so violently desecrate the marathon’s finish line, six days earlier; but, these homegrown tragedies are occurring more frequently : Columbine, Virginia Tech, Aurora, Fort Hood, Tucson, Sandy Hook, and now Boston – on  busy and celebrated Copley Square, after the city’s namesake race.  I am once again stunned – but sadly, not surprised.

On the other hand, to have witnessed a city and its citizens’ everyday agenda frozen, like a DVD story frame, while city and federal officials intensified their active search for perpetrators.- that  was unprecedented. The kind of unprecedented that has given rise to the already mythic, “ if-a-city-could-talk affirmation” being bandied about today, in the drawl of a Boston accent:  We’re not terrorized – but we are wicked pissed . It speaks the difference between a  city   stunted by terrorism as opposed to one that refuses  to be victimized, instead deliberately putting life (as the city knows it) on hold, until the bombers were, at least, stopped in their bloody tracks..

More incredulities:  

 I can’t believe, fifty miles from the city I watched WBZ’s Boston coverage of the Watertown
stake-out –  being  aired from the street corner of my son’s Cambridge apartment – the designated media zone, a short walk from the war-zone tactics (house-to-house searches, sniper-like surveillance) being initiated a few blocks away.

 I can’t believe that once again, my daughter’s birthday – April 19 – commemorates another dark anniversary , along with the Oklahoma bombings, and the date's eerie proximity to the Columbine and Virginia Tech shootings.

Still, among these disbeliefs  there is one huge assurance that I can believe in -  that a single, vigilant, hometown citizen provided the final link in the chain of organized efforts to make the streets of Watertown, Cambridge, and Boston safe again. He saw something - a bloodied tarp covering his motorboat - and said something, via a 911 call.

There, however, remains a cruel irony. Through the nation's focus on the bombing, the U.S. Senate lost sight of its bipartisan effort  to enact common sense gun reform that 90% of the American public agrees with  - expanding background checks (that would continue to honor the spirit of  the Second Amendment).That defeat  seems to have added insult to the deaths and injuries suffered from  tragedies past (Sandy Hook, et al), present (Boston), and future (who knows?)! 

We can help the victims of the Boston Bombing  by donating to One Fund Boston. We must also continue to work to make America safer from gun violence by repeating in word and action our Sandy Hook Promise to continue to work towards common sense reform.

Finally, I thank God that my son, daughter and I could be reunited today after this sad week. I pray for the peace and comfort of families grievously touched by the Boston Marathon bombing and aftermath who are not so fortunate.

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