The bombings at the Boston Marathon are a stark reminder of the vulnerability of the world’s strongest nation.
No matter how well-armed the United States is, no matter how tight the security, terrorists can find ways to deliver their deadly message.
Every time Americans see breaking television footage of a major fire or plane crash or explosion, the specter of 9/11 returns. Those terror attacks, which killed thousands, tore apart our national sense of power and security.
They also ushered in a new America — one where airport scanning is routine and bag checks take place everywhere from the movies in your hometown theater to sporting events in major cities.
In the 12 years that have passed since the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, the nation has shifted between unifying patriotism and partisan division, between gratitude for protective measures to exasperation over the inconveniences, between healing and a thirst for revenge.
As 9/11 fades further into the past, people have questioned whether all the security measures are necessary. The Boston bombings — whether found to be domestic or foreign terrorism — have provided a horrifying answer. Despite heightened security measures, three are dead and more than 170 injured.
President Obama said those responsible for the attack will be brought to justice. But any action we can take — military or diplomatic — will not prevent someone else with hatred toward the United States from plotting to murder innocents and disrupt life. That, sadly, is the reality of the world we live in now.
What we can do is be patient and even grateful for the reasonable intrusions we must endure to enhance the security of people at public events. That is not an endorsement of measures that overstep our rights to privacy. The freedoms on which our nation was founded are what set America apart, what give us our greatness — and they can’t be compromised.