April 16th, 2013


Thoughts after yesterday's attack

A thought on "bouncing back", on this day which is a mixture of Israel's Independence Day and Boston mourning its dead and wounded from yesterday's attack.

I was in Israel in March 1996. I walked down a Jerusalem street covered in blood, shattered glass, and Zaka volunteers climbing the trees to collect body parts for burial. I heard the bombing at the mall in Tel Aviv, and saw images of it on TV that didn't try to protect viewers' sensitivities.

And what did the Israelis do? They mourned the dead, they cleaned up the bombing site, and they got back to normal the next day. To do otherwise was, as the phrase goes, "to let the terorrists win."

Now I understand that there are a few big differences between the bombings of the Boston Marathon and the bombings in 1996 Israel.

First, there's an active crime investigation going on here, whereas in Israel it was known exactly who was behind the bombings and how they got there. (And that's why there's a wall.)

Second, Americans are still in shock that it can happen here. The bad news is that the very essence of a free society is that we tolerate a small number of bad guys in order to preserve the best possible life for the vast majority of good guys. Terrorism leverages that against us... and tempts us to "give up essential libery to gain a little temporary safety."

But we must return to normal. We must reopen downtown as soon as possible once the police have gathered evidence. We must patronize the stores and restaurants on Boylston Street. We must gather next Patriots' Day to cheer on the runners.

We must give up a little temporary safety to gain essential liberty.