One if by land and two if by sea, and I on the opposite shore shall be.
Ready to ride and spread the alarm to every Middlesex, village and farm. Paul Revere’s Ride
OK, folks, this is getting down right ridiculous. What the hell is wrong with people? It’s weird how in a New York second your whole life is balanced on the head of a pin. Bombs going off at the Boston Marathon finish line. What the hell?
My heart leapt to my throat because my daughter lives in Boston and goes to watch the marathon every year. She goes early to camp near the finish line and takes the kids and a cooler with sodas and makes it a FAMILY DAY.
It was also Patriot’s Day which is a huge celebration in Boston and most of New England. A big tourist activity in Boston especially for history buffs, is walking the Freedom Trail. It’s an actual painted line on the sidewalk that you start to follow at Faneuil Hall, walk by Paul Revere’s workshop, the old North Church, and ends at the ship yard to go aboard Old Ironsides, the oldest commissioned naval vessel afloat. The thing that struck me the most about this ship is that the floor was painted dark red to mask the blood and not scare the young boys that scampered around helping the men load and shoot the canons.
After my daughter heard that the bombs went off, she texted me to tell me that she didn’t go. She told me that for some reason at the last-minute, all of the sudden she felt “too tired” to go. Her angel was watching over her shoulder yesterday. I have never been so happy to receive a text message in my life.
I was off course hugely relieved, but then I felt guilty and burst into tears. Of all the thousands of people there who could have been killed or injured I’m relieved that my baby girl is OK. But that’s a normal reaction. The heart goes immediately to loved ones in a disaster. All other superfluous thoughts fly right out the window.
My mind drifted back to conversations I used to have with a charismatic Priest in New Orleans, Father Mark. He told me that the biggest lie perpetrated in the 20th century is that there is no such thing as good vs. evil. Frequently when perpetrators are interviewed about heinous acts, they don’t really remember nor have a “logical” answer as to why they did what they did. Or they say someone in their head told them to do it. That right there is evil in action.
The first thing I pray for is the victims of evil acts. The second is asking for understanding and compassion. What possesses someone to commit a premeditated act of violence? Father Mark told me that people are not so much possessed by evil like in that movie The Exorcist, but influenced by evil. In a world where we are led to believe that it’s OK to do whatever what we want to get what we want regardless of the cost to others, this makes sense to me.
At least it gives me something to hold on to in times of senseless violence and depravity. Another thought that comes to me is the Bible quote “vengeance is mine – sayeth the Lord.” So much violence is perpetrated as revenge for a real or perceived wrong done to a person or culture. It’s so sad. Violence begets violence. It makes me stop and question my motives when I’m nursing a grievance against someone for whatever reason, real or imagined.
Maybe it’s time for the mothers, wives, sisters and daughters of the world to pull another strike like in the ancient play, Lysistrata written by Aristophanes. The play is about a group of women who were sick and tired of their husbands, fathers, brothers and sons constantly waging war and getting themselves killed.
Via Wikipedia: Originally performed in classical Athens in 411 BC, it is a comic account of one woman’s extraordinary mission to end The Peloponnesian War. Lysistrata persuades the women of Greece to withhold sexual privileges from their husbands and lovers as a means of forcing the men to negotiate peace — a strategy, however, that inflames the battle between the sexes. The play is notable for being an early exposé of sexual relations in a male-dominated society.
If you get a good translation of that play it’s one of the funniest things you’ll ever read in your life. But, it’s also a good example of the adage; desperate times call for desperate measures.
We women are not blameless either though. When we repeat a hurtful tidbit of gossip, exclude someone because we think they “are not good enough” to be part of our little clique, or urge our men to violence, we are part of the problem.
So back to the Boston Bombing. Will we ever know exactly why it happened or who is really behind it? I’m sure we’ll come up with a suspect to nail to the town wall, someone for us all to use as a target for outrage, indignation and a blood thirsty desire for vengeance. Who knows, maybe we need another trip through the sixties where the motto among the “hippies” of that time was “make love not war.”
In my opinion, the best vengeance for Americans is to continue to live out our rare and precious freedom and not cower in our homes in fear. The next time I attend a large public gathering will I feel a bit of fear? Probably yes. Will I let that fear conquer me and stay home? I certainly hope not.