Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Responding to Terror in Boston

How should we respond to the attack on yesterday's Boston Marathon? In very large part, we should not respond at all. Of course, those who know the victims should comfort them, and law enforcement should investigate. Those who felt the emotional sting (as I did) should take this as a reminder that life is short and uncertain, and reach out to their loved ones for comfort. But beyond that, however,we should not respond at all.

The manner in which we respond to adversity defines us. The running community understands that better than most. We should not allow the crazy/hateful people behind the attacks to turn us into fearful/angry people. Instead, we should go on with our wonderful lives. We should start training for next year's Boston Marathon; I'm proud of my friend who announced, with hours of the attack, that he will not alter his plans to run next year if he can qualify.

Some will urge that we implement more security measures, but that would only be counter productive. It is impossible to stop terrorist attacks of this nature. If we place security at the marathon, they will go to the ballpark, the shopping mall, the supermarket, the freeway or any other place where people congregate. We would have to shut down society to prevent such attacks, and even then it probably wouldn't work.  Indeed, by responding to the attacks we encourage the next crazy/hateful group seeking attention.

And for what? Terrorism accounts for a minute portion of injury and death in this country. Far better to shut down the freeways to prevent car accidents than to shut down a marathon to prevent terror attacks.

So, how should we respond? Perhaps by getting in shape, qualifying for Boston next year and then making plans to join in that wonderful celebration of life, health and a free and open society with thousands of like minded friends.