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Section A: General News


Editorial: From Boston, Mass., to West, Texas, Americans unite




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About politics and other things
April 24, 2013 | 1,102 views | Post a comment

Last week’s multiple tragedies were experienced by Americans, but the repercussions were felt around the world. From Boston, Mass., to the tiny town of West, Texas, it was a week filled with tragedy. It was also a time of overcoming.

It began last Monday afternoon as two bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Not just Bostonians, but all Americans, were in shock that such an iconic event as the Boston Marathon could be so horribly tarnished.

Three people were killed in the explosions, and dozens more were injured, many horribly maimed. It was a senseless tragedy that instantly changed the lives of many families, but the ramifications will be felt for months and years to come as we seek ways to prevent such a horrible thing from ever happening again.

It was the same in Arizona after U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot and after the Newtown, Conn., massacre. Always comes the hue and cry for tighter gun control. Except that Massachusetts, like Connecticut, already has some of the toughest gun-control laws in the nation.

And except that in Boston it was not a gun, but pressure cookers made into bombs. Now do we need tighter pressure cooker control laws? It should become apparent that we must pursue and punish the perpetrators rather than the weapon.

Those who read my columns know that I am not a gun person. But as I listened to the news about the city of Boston being in a lockdown situation while police and other agents searched desperately for the second of two bombing suspects, I realized that a gun would be comforting to have. While Bostonians cowered in their homes with baseball bats, scissors, and cast-iron skillets for protection, they might have been wishing they owned a gun.

But this isn’t about gun control. It is about the future. Americans tend to come together after tragedies such as 9-11, and the people in Boston are feeling the need to come together in the aftermath of this latest tragedy.

It was heartwarming, for instance, to hear about Neil Diamond’s impromptu appearance at a Red Sox game when he cheered the audience with a rousing rendition of “Sweet Caroline.” At Red Sox games and also the Boston Bruins games, the national anthem took on a new meaning as the crowds spontaneously joined in singing. Perhaps this will become a new tradition at major events. Instead of allowing one celebrity to take the stage, invite the crowd to feel the emotion by singing the national anthem.

The other tragedy last week, of course, was the explosion at the fertilizer plant in West, Texas. The town was pretty much devastated with 14 deaths (10 of them first responders) and about 200 injuries. In a town with a population of only about 2,800, pretty much everyone was affected.

Looking at the pictures of the nearby apartment complex, nursing home, school, and dozens of houses demolished or badly damaged, it’s amazing that we didn’t see far more deaths.

Again, people came together, with neighbor helping neighbor. That is as it should be.

I close with this inspiration from Maryknoll:



We rejoice as you call us by name, O Lord.

Swell our hearts that they might be full of your love.

Open our eyes that we might recognize you in our world.

Unplug our ears that we might hear your cries.



Strengthen our hands that we might reach out to you.

Fortify us that we might have the courage to face the task.

Empower us to truly follow you.

-- Ana and Tod Gobledale
 

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