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Monday, April 15, 2013

A response to today's bombings at the Boston Marathon

At the time that I write this, there have been varying reports about the number of wounded, ranging from 28 to hundreds, and a consistent report from NBC, CBS, FOX, CNN, and ABC of two dead, from the bombings today at the Boston Marathon. I wanted to take a few moments to express myself, and to get a thought out of my head, regarding this event and the surrounding activity.

First, I'd like to express my deepest condolences to the families and friends of those killed, or injured, in the bombing. No words of mine can really approach the deepest feelings of people, and the sense of loss, anger, and despair that must accompany these tragedies. All I can hope for is that the families and friends of those hurt today can express their emotions and be touched by the people closest to them, in order to validate and help heal their grief.

Second, allow me to take a moment and acknowledge those who were running toward, and not away from, the danger. Normal human instinct is to flee from the unknown; to be terrified of something, like an unexpected loud noise, and to run away from it, startled and afraid. That's how animals respond, and it's how most humans respond. But not all. There were soldiers, police officers, firefighters, EMS providers, media personnel, and bystanders who immediately overcame their fear, their instinct to get far, far away, and assess and help those who were most in danger. Some of them were people who had just run 26.2 miles, and were absolutely exhausted, dehydrated, and until that moment were likely thinking of nothing else but getting some water, getting off of their feet, and resting. They didn't rest, they reacted. They didn't drink water, they staunched bleeding and applied tourniquets and carted off the wounded in a scene that I imagine might have felt like it was written by Dante, Milton, or Virgil; a vision of Hell centuries old. In addition, a massive salute is in order to the staff of the various area hospitals, most of whom probably came into work this morning expecting a few extra patients, most related to the Marathon and the surrounding crowds, but nothing on this scale, or for this reason. Shifting gears from "normal" emergency department patients to clearing dozens of trauma rooms, activating MCI response teams, and preparing for horrific injuries is exhausting, and requires mental and emotional efforts that are difficult to comprehend. My hat goes off to them, as well.

Third, indulge me in some anger, if you will. I have not yet heard any claim of responsibility from any of the terror groups I might have expected to claim responsibility, and so all of the things I am about to say are contingent upon it being an act of organized terrorism (about which I have no doubt, but which is, still, conjecture by me).

To those who planned and executed this bombing, I ask: what do you expect will happen? Do you have some fantasy of the President of the United States to get on television, and beg for your organization to forgive America for being the most impressive font of freedom in human history? Is there some concept in your clearly undersized brain that permits you to imagine, for even a moment, that Americans give a flying fuck about your jihad, or your personal vendetta against America, or your crusade to demolish a relatively free-market capitalism because you think that Lenin, Mao, or Che "had it right"?

Allow me to point out what happens when you kill Americans, especially innocent Americans (we will return to the issue of innocence in a moment): You die. If you disbelieve me, ask your compatriots in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, and various other places around the world. So far, two people are dead as a result of today's bombing (I assume they are Americans, because the mass of statistics would support the high probability of them being so, but it is possible that the two deceased are visitors, perhaps from your own nation). Is the death of a hundred of your fellows worth the two almost accidental murders you've committed today? Are you really naive enough to believe that Americans have grown distasteful of overseas military action, enough so that we will leave you and your compatriots alone and unharmed? If you are, then I pity you. I truly do. We will not leave you alone. We will not beg your forgiveness, we will not kowtow to your unreasonable demands nor to your unreasonable methods for expressing them. We will find out who you are, we will come to where you are, and we will unleash a justice upon you that you cannot possibly conceive.

Regarding innocence: there is a wide-spread and vociferous charge leveled by terrorists targeting the United States that no-one in the United States is innocent, that we all share in the bloody hands and corrupted values that you profess to oppose. In doing so, you also vilify American attacks, such as recent drone attacks in Afghanistan, which happened to have killed family members of the leaders of various groups targeting Americans while targeting those leaders themselves. Your duplicity is obvious, even to the most uneducated. If Americans cheering on their family members running in a marathon in Boston, Massachusetts, are not innocent of the crimes you level against the United States, then neither are the family members of your Taliban, Al Queda, and other organizations. You teach your children hatred, from the time they are born. You espouse violence, and anger, amongst your peers. You discuss your plans to kill Americans, by some of the most cowardly methods possible, with your wives and your daughters and your elders. They are not innocent: just as you believe that every single person in America has some kind of obligation to abide by your rules of law, justice, and penitence, so then does every single person in your circle of influence have the same obligations to Americans. As Americans, we do not put our soldiers behind children; we do not hide them amongst families and elders. Our soldiers fight as soldiers. If you want to, feel free to face them. I know you cannot, because you have no hope to survive the military onslaught of the United States.

You cannot win the battles between armies, because we are better trained, better equipped, and better fed than are you. You cannot win the battles of sympathy: when a drone accidentally kills a few children, America acknowledges the mistake and then continues to work to improve our ability to kill your leaders, and soldiers, one by one; but planting bombs that can never, ever target soldiers but must, of necessity, target families and children, can never be forgiven and emboldens even America's enemies against you. Simply put, you cannot win. Even the most fearless and confident soldiers that have ever lived know when a battle is hopelessly lost.

Finally, I part with this thought in my head: as Americans, we are truly siblings. Republicans and Democrats may tear at each other's throats, but they are Americans. Only I may beat up my brother; if you try to beat him up, I will unleash a fury of anger and destruction upon you that has never before been seen. Be careful with whom you pick fights.

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