Our View: Horror in Boston

Posted: April 17, 2013

A byproduct of the incessant 24/7 news cycle is a surfeit of air time. Nature, as well we know, abhors a vacuum, and so do talking heads caught in a regurgitory do-loop, with nothing new to say.

Such was the case Monday in the wake of the dreadful explosions that turned the finish line of the Boston Marathon into a murder scene. We listened as commentators labored to be analytical, and were treated, as it were, to the likes of MSNBC’s Chris Matthews wondering if the bombings were linked to the arrival of Tax Day. Really?

To us, it all seems rather cut-and-dried: Unmitigated evil, ever probing for vulnerability in a land historically free and strong, found it in the most joyous and celebratory of events — an iconic road race on a holiday (Patriots’ Day) that not only relishes the promise of spring but commemorates the initial birth-stirrings of a nation. Now, for America, it’s a matter of finding out who’s responsible for these despicable acts — no terrorist group, as of this writing, has assumed customary responsibility — and according evil its just and proper due.

For years, we lived in what was known as “post-9/11 world.” Do Monday’s bombings suggest that we, as a nation, momentarily let our guard down, believing the storm had passed? That would be tantamount to folly, given the fact that, as recently as 2010, a solitary car-bomber had set his sights on blowing up Times Square.

Sadly, Monday reaffirms the sheer difficulty of a daunting task: to protect all points on the homeland all the time. It’s not as if the marathon were lacking in security measures, but how does one make a 26.2-mile route airtight, impervious to mayhem?

Still, eternal vigilance is the duty exacted by freedom, particularly in a perilous age. And so, as Longfellow once famously observed, our “cry” these mornings after must be one of “defiance, and not of fear.”