The Oklahoma City bombing in April 1995 and the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks were knee-buckling blows that led to an obsession over domestic security and foreign wars that will mark—and mar—our generation. The last mass terrorist assault on U.S. soil was carried out by Maj. Nidal M. Hassan, an Army psychiatrist with loose connections to al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, who fatally shot 13 people and wounded 30 more at Fort Hood, Texas, in November 2009.
There were attacks thwarted by the swelling ranks of federal police: The so-called shoe bomber, Richard Reid; an attempt to bomb the New York City subway system in 2009; and ax`n unexploded car bomb in Times Square in 2010.
Boston is another bridge too far. The Boston Marathon and its competitors reflect the best of America—always striving, forever resilient, and, as measured by population and cultural significance, enormous.
You might say it’s unfair to compare Boston’s relatively low death toll to 9/11 and Oklahoma City, much less to the thousands of casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the daily total of gun deaths on U.S. streets.
But the Boston attack is notable not for the number of deaths, but for its social significance. It’s one thing—a dastardly, evil thing—to strike symbols of economic and military power. It’s another to hit the heart of America. Death at the finish line in Boston makes every place (and everybody) less secure.
Imagine trying to rationalize what's a bigger nightmare to behold in terror, Oklahoma City bombing, the Twin Towers, the Newtown murders, Colombine, Pearl Harbor, the Colorado movie theater shooting, etc. He then tries to quantify what's a more important American value that he feels were attacked.
They targeted life. They targeted liberty. Now somebody has attacked pursuit of happiness.
WTF does this mean? Why is the pursuit of happiness more important than liberty? We've been covering the insane tweets and rants of right wing bloggers and pundits, but some of our supposedly serious journalists are guilty of the same unhinged and hyperbolic behavior as the Jim Hofts and Ben Shapiros.
But the world is full of such horrors in this unworthy world, isn't it? Indeed, America's last horrifying act of violence was one in which over 20 little children like Martin Richard were gunned down, on purpose, in their first grade classrooms. Did we fall apart and declare that our "pursuit of happiness" is under siege and that this was an "attack on liberty?" Why not? What's the difference?
The difference is that we didn't call it "terrorism," isn't it, which apparently would have made it necessary to turn ourselves into hysterical basket cases mewling about Thomas Jefferson's dreams being destroyed because some "coward" targeted "life and liberty" and which is just, well ... stupid and obvious. In fact, we have no idea why this madman targeted anyone. At this point, for all we know, he could have had a grudge against the City of Boston or hated marathon runners.
This is the lugubrious and mawkish commentary that gives opportunistic politicians permission to behave as if we've been attacked by Martians instead of human beings and throw reason out the window. It's counter-productive to our ability to protect life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, to say the least.
Ron Fournier should be given a few days off and ordered to take three cold showers a day then read a little Winston Churchill: Keep Calm and Carry On.