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Friday, July 25, 2014

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They underestimate freedom’s strength

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As of this writing, more is known about the manner of the bombings last week at the Boston Marathon, the horrible toll of the human carnage and the details of the demise and capture of the alleged bombers than the motive for and planning of the murderous evil acts.

Two brothers, originally from Chechnya, long since residents and even citizens of the United States – but clearly not feeling settled there – Tamerlan, 26, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, were identified by authorities as the suspected perpetrators of the terror. Tamerlan was killed in a shootout last Thursday. Dzhokar is in custody, severely wounded from that same shootout. Early reports last week also claimed that an alleged accomplice was in custody, but that was never confirmed. 

Too much information is still missing about the blood-soaked event for authorities to draw all the appropriate and necessary conclusions. But the interrogation of the younger brother is already underway. He is reported to be providing answers to questions.

For the families, however, of eight-year-old Martin Richard, 23-year-old Lu Lingzi, 29-year-old Krystle Campbell and 26-year-old Sean Collier, the four individuals killed in the marathon nightmare and the nearly 200 people injured and disfigured, full justice will be a worthy but comfortless result incapable of filling the space in the hearts left empty by the deliberate concussion of nails, ball bearings and other pieces of shrapnel that ripped through their loved ones and themselves.

Despite the ongoing investigation, we have no qualms in calling the bombings acts of terror by terrorists. 

Innocent people in an entirely civilian setting – not military or security or other infrastructure installations – were targeted. Indeed innocent people were hideously and brutally cut down. 

The open and free society that was the nurturing shelter of the alleged terrorists, was also, temporarily at least, cut down.

Open and free societies must constantly struggle with the deeply searing conundrum of the extent to which our freedoms can – or must – be curtailed in order to protect themselves from terrorists. 

But terrorists, even home-grown ones, always underestimate the extent to which our freedoms give our societies the strength we need to persevere through the human devastation they cause, the resilience we find to rebuild broken homes and broken hearts, and the resolve we share never to surrender our cherished freedoms to those who have no understanding of what a true treasure those freedoms are.

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