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Terror strikes

April 16, 2013

Terror does not change minds. In fact, the force of its bombs blow human sentiment away from the ideals of the bomber, and cement the opposition.

History has always had its barbarous rogues, from pirates to warlords to inquisitors to hijackers. Some, whose pursuit has been money, have even been thought of in sympathetic terms as time has gone by.

But random political terror is harder for the reasonable mind to accept, because it never works. Whatever purpose, whatever the cause behind the bombings at the finish line at the Boston Marathon on Monday, it will not prevail.

One suspects that those responsible, whether foreign or domestic, must know this as well, which suggests a greater evil is at hand, one that is angry and malicious and seeks only to inflict injury, pain and death for no greater sin than having differing values.

But if terror shows them at their worst, it shows us at our best.

Resisting the primal urge to flee in the wake of the explosions, men and women — some in uniform, some not — rushed in to provide aid and comfort.

At times such as this, these heroes do not ask about political views or affiliations.

As Americans, we see this in all disasters, natural or man-made. Whether a bomb in Boston or tornadoes in Alabama, we rush in to help, with time, money and prayers. When our backs are against the wall, others will have our backs — and at another time, we will have theirs.

Our other strength as a people under a Republic is that our democracy stands, come what may. No bomb is strong enough to blow away our foundations and sacrifice meaningful freedoms in the name of security.

Less stable or self-secure peoples might resort to tactics far more desperate than the relative inconvenience of standing in an airport security line.

Immediate communications have made terror around the globe seem almost routine. Yet we have remained relatively free from fear on our home soil. While everyone has a complaint or two about government, it earns high marks for terror prevention on our shores.

So when we go to shopping centers or sporting events or nightclubs we do not go in fear. We cannot allow that to change. Yes, our feelings will be raw for a while, just as they were after 9/11. But we will refuse to allow terror to dominate our lives.

To that end, we thank our policing authorities for prevention, our own people who lend aid when the rare attack does occur, and a strong system of government and beliefs that permits our wholehearted support of our freedoms, even when under fire — especially when under fire.

We might only wish that it would not take an attack to remind us that we are, at heart, one people.

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