Funny what passed for something to be worried about before Monday afternoon
Endless bad weather.
Tiger Woods' drop.
Kobe Bryant's Achilles.
Front Row Amy.
Lights on the Hoan Bridge.
That's what passed for topics of interest on this very blog in the days before the Boston Marathon, the finish line explosions and the rattling of domestic security.
We don't know who did it and we don't know why, but we know what it is--terrorism. You don't take things as innocuous as a pressure cooker, ball bearings and nails and turn them into a lethal device if your intent isn't to cause mayhem, to mess with bodies and heads and beliefs and a presumption that we should be able to gather in large numbers without having to worry about every gym bag or backpack.
Then came Monday afternoon.
The term "loss of innocence" is getting tossed around again in the wake of Boston, as it was after September 11th, Columbine, and any other recent act of supreme cruelty. Sorry, to me innocence was lost with Pearl Harbor, or the day presidents could no longer ride through cities in open cars. It left with Vietnam and the Gulf of Tonkin, the Pentagon Papers and Cambodia, with RFK and MLK.
What WAS lost Monday: lives and limbs, to be sure. Dreams, too--the hopes of participants who wanted to finish one of the world's most storied sports events, to cross one more thing off a bucket lists. Gone as well is that swagger we felt, the sense that maybe, just maybe, we'd beaten back the threat of terror both foreign born or domestically sired. Those Miller Park purse checks were starting to feel kinda silly as the new season began, didn't they? How about those endless lines at Lambeau Field last fall as local police amped up security? And who didn't roll their eyes as ushers "wanded" you heading into a Bucks game at the BMO Harris Bradley Center?
Don't even bring up what happens when you fly.
Those are just a few examples of how our lives changed over the decades, each of them an exclamation point that drives home the fact innocence died long, long ago. They're proof bad people still want to do horrible things.
With Monday's tragedy comes the reaffirmation of another lesson we've come to learn amid all this sadness, the fact that the world is still full of more good folks than evil ones. Boston is rife with heroes, from the trained pros who ran toward the smoke and fire to the bystanders who offered food, home and comfort to complete strangers.
Let that be our takeaway: not the alleged loss of innocence, but rather the the affirmation of good drawn out at the depth of our sorrow. Sadly, we've had way too many examples of that lately, but let's take comfort where we can.
May the injured be healed, the grieving find comfort. Let the rest of us do what we've always done, unafraid and undaunted. May there be 60,000 at next year's Boston Marathon.
And, may the pros find the bastard(s) who did this.