Boston’s Motto: “By the sword we
seek peace, but peace only under liberty”
I live just outside of Boston in Arlington, Massachusetts, on Massachusetts Avenue, a road which stretches south all the way through Cambridge and across the Charles River to Boston proper. It’s a matter of minutes by public transportation to get downtown where the bombs exploded on Monday on Boylston Street. I visit downtown Boston regularly.
Boston Historic Symbol of Freedom
Today, I received a call from friends, asking if I was okay. I hadn’t heard about the explosions in Boston and I hadn’t been watching TV, so I wasn’t aware of what was happening downtown. Only yesterday, we hosted the Patriots Day parade in Arlington, formerly known as Menotomy. Arlington lies on the route on which Paul Revere made his famous ride. My home is on the site of some of the first battles fought during the onset of the Revolutionary War. Just north are Lexington and Concord. In Arlington, we’re right in the thick of things. (In 1867, Menotomy was renamed Arlington in tribute to fallen soldiers buried at Arlington National Cemetery.)
Terrorism on the Boston Freedom Trail
What can we do about terrorism on our shores more than 200 years after establishing the land of the free, The United States of America. I am reminded of the poem by Emma Lazarus, born on a plaque on the side of the Statue of Liberty‘s pedestal, with its famous
“…Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!…”
Melting Pot Includes Poison
As of late, I feel uneasy when I think of this country as being the “melting pot” that it is. I’m sure I’m not alone in my concern about poisoned minds of extremists coming to our shores and wreaking havoc here. Ever since the bombing of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, I had been under the impression that, in this country, we were doing all we could to prevent further terrorist attacks. There actually have been fewer major acts of terrorism than I would have expected. Even so, I’ve always had a sense that it’s an impossible task to predict and stop all such malevolent acts. Today, after this terrorist act in Boston, I feel a renewed sense of that concern. That said, we don’t even know if this act was of domestic origin, or from foreign monsters.
Optimism Sustains Us
I am not a fatalist, rather I am an optimist. I’ve been an optimist my entire life. I was born with a hopeful outlook. However, I feel we aren’t smart enough yet. We haven’t put enough into the business of shutting down threats. We cannot yet detect the evil that lurks within our shores. I don’t think we’ll ever be able to read what’s in the hearts of those wretches who come to do us harm (or the ones already here), but perhaps we can do a better job of preventing them from obtaining bomb making materials and entering crowded areas carrying such weapons of mass killing.
Unfortunately, even with my optimism, I don’t see 100 percent detection and prevention as ever happening in my lifetime. People still get in. People are already here. The Boston Marathon is a wonderful excuse to let down our guard and allow individuals to mingle freely and participate. That’s what we do. It was Patriots’ Day! As a whole, our collective intelligence amounts to somewhere in between that of the highly educated movers and shakers and the “wretched refuse” who have been tempest tost to our shores (or somehow raised here by wild dogs). Unfortunately, some of those that reach our shores are bringing the tempest with them.
Technology for Freedom
I’ll just bear all of this with my usual dumb optimism. I’m not the policeman. That’s not me. My hope is that, one day, the good geniuses in our midst will bring to bear all available intelligence and technology to monitor thoroughly the physical aspects of terrorism. Shouldn’t we be able to keep materials out of the hands of evil doers? I believe the possibility is less remote than trying to read the minds of (and thereby stopping) all mass killers. If we can sniff out every nook and cranny where weapons chemicals come together, we can respond. I don’t think it’s such a huge leap to be able to zero-in on these elements as they converge. I believe it’s possible. If they can put satellites and telescopes in outer space to peer back billions of years, or to look back down to Earth and pick out small objects, why not focus those eyes on identifying traces of elements where they don’t belong in our country? Current technology can already identify millions of light spectrum using filters deployed in those cameras in space. I believe technology may exist, or will exist, that would enable scientists to spot confluences of materials with a specific footprint and identify potential weapons before they are fully formed, or deployed. That’s my hope. That’s all I got.
Rest in peace, to those innocent people harmed or lost in Boston, from wherever they may have come, including the fine young woman, Krystle Marie Campbell, of neighboring town of Medford, Massachusetts, who worked in a favorite restaurant right here in Arlington. Let’s bolster their families and lend our best support to the injured too.
Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing