As of this writing, one of the two suspects in the bombings at the Boston Marathon that killed three people and wounded more than 170 is dead, and police are looking for the second. The shock from the event itself has subsided.
That should be a better, less visceral, time to assess what happened and what it means for our future.
Amid the dozens of issues being debated and discussed, two stand out to me:
One group of opinion makers says the marathon will never be the same again. Others say it will be. I’m sad to side with the first group.
That does not mean I think the marathon will disappear. The race organizers have already declared that it will be held in 2014, and good for them. It may not even decline in popularity. I hope, as many do, that it will draw as many or more runners and spectators next year, and for years to come.
That would be an inspiring testament to the resiliency and courage of the human spirit.
All that said, it still won’t be the same. Our history shows it won’t. It won’t even after all the inspiring declarations by city and state officials, and the president himself, that Boston will not be cowed by terrorism.
Yes, it’s true that we don’t spend our waking hours obsessing over 9/11. New York City hums with commerce, the arts and the exuberant pride of ethnic neighborhoods. Millions of us get on planes every week.
But when we fly, we meekly submit to invasive, interminable security procedures. We take off our shoes, stand with our legs spread and arms over our heads so we can be scanned. Or, we get patted down over every part of our bodies. Nobody is outraged at what, even 15 years ago, we would have considered police-state intrusions into our privacy and freedom.