Saturday, April 20, 2013

Thoughts on the Boston Bombing

An author whose work I admire, Tiffany Madison, commented yesterday about a picture showing SWAT police in full kit, loaded for bear, accompanied by an armored car, performing a sweep of the streets of Watertown during the search for the last terrorist of the Second Boston Massacre.

"Grandpappy told my pappy
Back in my day, son
A man had to answer 
For the wicked thing he done..."

She commented that the amount of force levied seemed excessive.

"Take all the rope in Texas
Find a tall oak tree
Round up all of them bad boys
And hang 'em high in the street
For all the people to see..."

In any normal situation, I would agree--were they after a car thief, or at a peaceful protest. They were, however, after (and not being a member of the press I can say) a terrorist. One known to have used bombs to murder. One who shot a police officer earlier in the day, and who was throwing explosives from a moving car. Wounded or not, this was an extremely dangerous animal.

"We got too many gangsters
Doing dirty deeds
Too much corruption
And crime in the streets
It's time the long arm of the law
Put a few more in the ground..."

This is precisely why the police need to have this ability. As much as my libertarian side fears its misuse, this demonstrates why we have police, and is one of the most concrete examples of tax dollars being used appropriately I've seen in some time.

"Send them all to their Maker
And he'll set them on down
You can bet, He'll set 'em down..."

My only regret is that the bomber was captured alive.

"Cause justice is the one thing
You should always find
You gotta saddle up your boys
You gotta draw a hard line..."

I believe in the American system of justice in a rational way: I believe most guilty people get punished, and most innocent folks are found inculpable, and there are provisions to help ward against injustice. But the fact that this murderer gets his day in court is also going to give him a soapbox. Our struggle to understand the unfathomable mind of a madman will likely just give his fellow madmen hope that their tactics will gain them airtime.

"When the gunsmoke settles
We'll sing a victory tune
And we'll all meet back
At the local saloon..."

While I'm sure the burden of proof in court is higher than mine, I was pretty sure this guy was guilty when they started throwing explosives from their car and shooting at the police when chased. While not iron-clad, I'll admit, it seems damning on its face.

"And we'll raise up our glasses
Against evil forces
Singing, 'Whiskey for my men, beer for my horses!'
Whiskey for my men, beer for my horses!"

I don't think we'll find the answers our rational minds are looking for by looking at the mind of killer. I think all we are bound to find is a flawed and broken mind. One that thinks the murder of innocents to garner attention is justified in the pursuit of their cause. Our rational minds simultaneously demand rational answers not found in the irrational.

(Thanks to Toby Kieth for his lyrics)