Friday, April 26, 2013

Boston Marathon Massacre

4/24/13 Chatterbox
Betty Kaiser

Running life's dangerous race

Dear readers: Once again, our country has been turned upside-down by an atrocity impossible to comprehend. Once again, we are forced to face the fact that life can be unbelievably cruel…as we just learned when the innocent and iconic 2013 Boston Marathon race became deadly.

April 15, I was sitting at my computer emailing our local congressman and senators. The gun bill vote was coming up and I wanted them to hear my opinion. I had just finished, when the horrific news broke about the Boston Marathon bombings. Early statistics showed two bombs detonated by unknown, despicable human beings. The toll was three dead and 170 injured.

When I heard that it was tentatively considered an act of terrorism and one of the victims was a child, I burst into tears and left the room. I shook my fist, looked up into heaven and shouted, “Enough! People have suffered enough at the hands of terrorists! No more! This craziness must end! Where are you God?” And I continued weeping.

Mass tragedy quickly puts daily life into perspective. Soon, I was throwing pettiness and self-pity out the window. I was focused on the hardships of strangers. I felt a kinship with people I would never know. I was safe but thousands of miles away they were suffering loss of life, limbs, family, sanity, and security. Hearts were breaking all over the world as messages of condolence poured into Boston.

So I began to pray a different prayer—one of hope and help. A prayer not only for the victims but those who were rescuing them from the hell they had all been plunged into: A prayer of courage for the injured and their families as they journeyed to hospitals and learned their fate. A special prayer of courage and wisdom for the medical teams that would make decisions and operate.

The prayers kept coming. A prayer of gratitude for the First Responders (fire, police, medics and other personnel) who were fast and focused. Another prayer of gratitude for the by-standers who viewed the carnage and leaped into action; off-duty medical personnel viewing or participating in the race who immediately sprang into action and race participants who ran to hospitals to donate blood.

As the day’s news unfolded, the big question was “WHO?” Who did this? As of this writing no one knows. This much we do know. The person was evil. I’m not beating around the bush about these things anymore. No rational, decent human being would detonate bombs in civilian populations for the sheer joy of killing. He or she is evil.

And what does ‘evil’ mean? Here’s the dictionary definition: "Morally wrong, bad or wicked. Characterized or accompanied by misfortune or suffering. In certain religious contexts evil has been described as a supernatural force. Marked by anger, irritability, irascibility, etc."

The next big question is “WHY?” Why would someone want to set up bombs in a public place of celebration? Again, as of this writing no one knows. But whatever the answer is, it will never make sense. There is no rational reason to randomly destroy people’s lives. No answer will ever be powerful enough to resurrect life.

If there is anything good to come out of this madness, it is that once again we have seen Americans jump in to help each other in times of crisis. We may not know our next-door-neighbor’s name but if they are hurting we will do everything in our power to get them help. Story after story has come out of this Boston bombing of Good Samaritans coming together to protect and save lives.

Only a small number of people panicked when they realized bombs were going off. Instead, they stopped and helped the injured. Some laid down on children to protect them. One young woman’s legs were shredded and both her mother’s legs were amputated. A young man in a red shirt gave them comfort until help came. They are now looking for “Matt” to thank him.

Although strangers helped many severely injured people, no one could help Martin Richard. The first bomb killed 8-year-old boy and injured his 6-year old sister but spared their brother. His mother lost one of her legs. His father had to have the bomb’s ball bearings removed from his leg. This adorable youngster will be remembered on Facebook holding a sign that reads “No more hurting people.”

The Richard family’s lives and hundreds of others will never be the same because of the carnage wrought by that deadly bomb. Martin’s mother will learn to walk again with a prosthetic leg but struggle with phantom pains to feel a limb that isn’t there. Healing and recovery will consume her life. Every day she will wake up aching to hold her son and kiss his sweet face.

In the days ahead I urge you to remember to pray for the victims as they rebuild their health, their strength and their courage. May none of them walk this wounded path alone. And in our prayers, let’s also remember the kindness and good will of the many angels of mercy on that Patriot’s Day in Boston. Together they made a difference.

As for the perpetrators of this heinous crime, I suggest we remember that a greater power than ours will ultimately convict them. Scripture says, “…for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine. I will repay,’ says the Lord.” We reap what we sow. Believe it!

P.S. As I finish this column, the Boston area is in lockdown. Two young men (brothers) have been identified as suspects. One is dead after a shoot-out with police. A massive manhunt is on for the second.

P.P.S. Lutheran Church Charities provided Bostonians with an unusually effective comfort station. Check out:

Betty Kaiser’s Chatterbox is about people, places, family, and other matters of the heart.

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