As of this hour, we still don’t know who made and detonated the bombs that ripped through the Finish Line area of the Boston Marathon yesterday, killing 3 and wounding over 150 others, many seriously. The investigations are ongoing, and include a search for a suspicious rental van and man wearing a hood who was seen in the area shortly before the blasts. Authorities are also speaking to a “person of interest” who had been on the scene. The FBI, ATF, Boston Police and other law enforcement are moving at breakneck speed to pursue all leads, get answers, and “bring to justice” those who committed this terrorist act.
This is a time to grieve and mourn and pray for those directly impacted by this disgusting act of terror. It’s also a time to pray for our country, which was reminded yesterday of how vulnerable we really are in the face of any kind of committed enemy.
We should also keep in mind the nature of evil. It exists. And it exists to destroy. When things like this happen, we tend to focus on the weapons: bombs in this case, airplanes and box cutters on September 11, 2001, IEDs and other explosives in Benghazi and across the Middle East, nuclear weapons in the cases of Iran and North Korea, guns at Newtown, Aurora, Tucson, and elsewhere. We tend to concentrate on the weapons because of the death, destruction, and pain they cause (or have the potential to cause). But we really should be focused on the evil that leads individuals or terror organizations or regimes to develop or acquire those weapons to achieve their violent and despicable ends.
It’s tough to acknowledge that evil is real and that it’s all around us. This is why we single out the weapons for special notice. We’d rather not look at the evil that animates the use or threatened use of those weapons.
The evil that lurks in the hearts of men is dark, capable of unspeakable things. As uncomfortable as it is, that is the reality. Thankfully, goodness usually wins out, as we saw on 9-11, when New York City firefighters, police, Port Authority officers, and EMS ran into the World Trade Center towers when everyone else was running out; on 9-11-12, when U.S. security personnel such as Tyrone Woods lost their lives trying to save their fellow Americans under attack in Benghazi; and yesterday in Boston, when first responders and the Massachusetts National Guard rushed toward the explosion to help those in need.
So even as we fight evil in all of its forms, we must remember the actions of true heroes, who time and time again remind us what true goodness is—and why America isn’t just a great country, but a good one.