The alert came across my screen around at 3 o'clock on Monday:
“Explosion Rocks Boston Marathon, Multiple Injuries Reported”
Within seconds I was following the Twitter feeds, clicking images and video of the horrific attack.
The earliest pictures, many of which have been scrubbed from the Internet (unless you know where to look), made me sick.
Was this really happening — again?
Emotions in our office ranged from anger and frustration to worry and sadness. But mostly, I was just tired. Tired of it all: the violence, the pain, the sense of vulnerability that future generations will now know not as rare occurrences, but rather as just a part of everyday life.
So I went home early that afternoon, spent some time with my family, and just let the whole thing marinate. I didn't watch the news because I wasn't in the mood for scripted emotion and crystal ball analysis.
And I stayed off the social media sites because I just couldn't take reading any more “inner-most thoughts” from legions of armchair philosophers and heartless, anonymous Internet bullies who, for some reason, get off on other people's pain and suffering.
Instead, I just tuned out and took a very long walk through the city. And on my walk, I noticed something very interesting...
Nothing was different. Kids were outside playing in the parks. Bikeriders were zipping in and out of traffic. Some folks were doing yard work, others were grilling burgers and steaks on their back porches.
All in all, the scene in Baltimore was no different than it was a day prior. And then I realized that for most of us, our way of life is simply not something that can be thrown off track very easily. And as long as we're not inconvenienced too much, we'll carry on and let those charged with the responsibility of protecting our nation take care of the bad guys.
It is for this reason, dear reader, that I fear the Boston explosion was not an isolated incident, but instead, just one of many more cracks in the dam that holds back the bubbling waters of foreign invasion, oppression, and tyranny.
What are we doing?
Following my very long walk this past Monday, I asked myself a very simple question: What are we doing?
What are we actively doing to protect this once-great Democracy? What are we doing to stay united in an effort to combat those who seek to divide and then conquer us?
What are we doing to ensure future generations of Americans enjoy the same freedoms we long enjoyed? What are we doing to provide the foundation for success so that today's children will be able to effectively compete in a global marketplace tomorrow? — a marketplace, by the way, that is already flooded with math and science whiz kids from China, India, and other parts of the globe.
What are we doing to hold our elected officials accountable for their misdeeds and incompetence? What are we doing to protect the Constitution from bureaucratic mobsters? What are we doing to ensure that America's future is one where opportunity exists for those willing to work for it, and what are we doing to make certain the next generation doesn't have to waste time and effort defending the right to have things as simple as access to clean air, safe water, and healthy food?
Finally, what are we doing to instill the values in this next generation that will drive them to expect nothing less than life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?
I know, it's a long list. But these are all valid questions that deserve valid answers. Because quite frankly, while this most recent terror attack was a very well-publicized event, it was also one of many events that continues to threaten our very fortunate way of life.
What happens now?
Although suspects have already been either killed or detained, I do hope that we as a nation allow this recent event in Boston to remind us how easily the foundation of our democracy can be shaken... not to mention the responsibility with which we are all charged to protect it.
The truth is while all of us are rightly expected to demand justice in our pursuit of the terrorists that threatened our personal freedoms by attacking innocent Americans in Boston this week, we should also rightly be expected to demand justice from those who actively work to steal our freedom in a much more secretive way — and on a much larger scale...
Whether it's unlawful searches and seizures, the watering down of our Constitution, or special interests dictating policy that results in everything from never-ending wars to very real threats to our food and water supplies... as responsible Americans, it is our duty to pursue and hold accountable those who seek to destroy the system that guarantees our liberty.
How do we accomplish this?
We ask ourselves all those questions I posed earlier in this piece.
And collectively, we not only find answers to those questions, but we actively pursue solutions to the problems these questions reveal.
Because, my friends, the future of America is relying on us. The very foundation of this nation can only be preserved and strengthened by our actions.
What happened in Boston this week was a tragedy of epic proportions, and we must not let that event fade off into oblivion.
Instead, it should serve as a constant reminder of the importance of defending our nation from all who wish to do it harm. Those who lost their lives that day deserve nothing less.
Live honorably, live free...
Jeff Siegel for Freedom Watch