Impact of terror

FI-EditorialBy definition, terrorism is designed to strike when you least expect it and make you feel as though there is no safe place for you and that at any moment another attack could happen.

And of course the fear, the confusion and the uncertainty is exactly what whoever is responsible wants. They want nothing to be “normal” ever again. It’s a feeling that Greenwich residents know all too well as nearly 12 years later the memories of the crystal clear morning of Sept. 11, 2001, still are as vivid as ever. And no doubt many flashed back to that when the news first broke this week about the act of terror in Boston that claimed at least three lives and injured more than a hundred more.

It’s unsettling to ever be reminded of the attacks that hit so close to home here in Greenwich, and the fear and confusion of Monday’s attacks did just that. It would be so much more preferable to be here hailing the Board of Education for its gutsy and right-on decision to go full steam ahead with MISA or to spout off flames of outrage over the cowardly failure of the United States Senate to move on the same kind of sensible gun control measures pushed by Connecticut’s senators and passed overwhelmingly in a bipartisan fashion by our state legislature.

But instead we are left reflecting on the events at the Boston Marathon, where people who wanted nothing more than to enjoy one of the country’s most famous sporting events were seriously hurt or, in at least three tragic cases, killed. There is no indication yet as to who might be responsible, and wild speculation about the source of the bombs that did so much damage is useless and creates the kind of atmosphere a terrorist wants. The investigation is ongoing now and the only thing that can be done is hope that the perpetrator (or perpetrators) are done so we can find out why and have there be some kind of justice.

Yet even finding out who is responsible will not bring back those who were killed, heal injuries that will be visible for the rest of people’s lives, restore the innocence of children who witnessed this horrific act, or make people confident again to take for granted that even the simple act of watching a marathon can be done without the fear of the unknown looming over everything.

What people are left with is the overwhelming question of Why the hell do people do things like this? Bringing about death and destruction to satisfy some vague ideal or political fury or religious fervor is alien to so many of us. We cannot fathom how anyone could do this, and when attacks like this happen, especially days after an incident at Greenwich High School that fortunately turned out to be nothing, that had so many fearing for their children, we are left looking for something, anything, that will comfort us.

So let’s do as many have done and focus on the brave first responders who ran right into the scene of the explosion when no one knew if there were more bombs to come. Let’s think about the people who selflessly helped their fellow runners and spectators. And let’s be reminded, as many were, of the always welcome words of the late Fred Rogers, better known as Mr. Rogers.

He once said, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers and so many caring people in this world.”

Those words are just as true as they were when he first said them and this week’s events proved that. Even in times of terror there is always heroism to celebrate and good things to remember. We must take that away from this.

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