Turning the news on has become a grim undertaking. News stories from around the world affront sensibilitiesthe carnage of the Mid East, the genocide, the suicide bombings. Ideas that separate mankind from the lower reaches of the animal kingdom seem also to fester into the evil that may yet destroy us all.
But back to the news: the Twin Towers. . .the anthrax attacks. . .the Beltway Butcher. . .where does death end? When did the United States lose grip on its idyllic vision of safety and security? Why have the attacks come home so suddenly and so brutally?
Politics must be put aside for the purposes this essay, because fault-finding serves no purpose. I will not allow excuses to be made for the violence currently taking lives around the nations capital; there is no excuse.
That the media debates the involvement of terrorists seems so sadly shallowof course terrorism lies at the room of this most recent attack. When men, women, and children are gunned down as they perform the routine tasks of life, when outdoor events are cancelled and children kept home from school out of fearthat is terrorism.
Political or personal, planned or spontaneous, this slaughter of the innocent epitomizes terror.
And the terror is not confined to its geographical home; this nightmare invades hearts and minds all over the country. One of my fourth graders struggled just today to explain what he had heard on the news, but his comprehension was sketchy. He believes that the sniper has attacked here locally, and that his familys safety is in jeopardy.
The callousness of a reporter describing Linda Franklins murder, saying that the killer capped her provoked graphic images that tortured me, that kept me from sleeping. Many years ago, a coward with a gun murdered my brother. . .shot him in the back. I see vans smeared with blood, or a forensic expert describing projectiles without emotion, and all I can think about is the agony and evil being wreaked on the innocent as they just go about their own harmless lives.
Cynics and others with certain world views may well tell me that in other countries, such dangers have preyed on the populace for years; some individuals may secretly applaud this humiliation of police and investigative forces. Some with anti-American agendas may even believe that we deserved it, in much the way some still blame the victims of rape, rather than the rapist.
But manymostare outraged at the slaughter, here and abroad. Most of us understand that to end the terror of this American nightmare, those responsible must be brought to immediate and absolute justice.