Friday, April 19, 2013

Bombs at the Marathon: Death, Anger, and Love

Someone deliberately set off bombs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday. Considering the amount of shrapnel built into the bombs, it's fairly certain that whoever is responsible wanted to hurt or kill as many people as possible.

Judgmental as this may seem, I think that was a very bad thing to do.

Related posts:
I'm writing this post on Wednesday. It's a hectic week for me, and I doubt that I'll have a chance to include anything that's happened on Thursday.

I'm concentrating on the three folks who were killed.
  1. Lu Lingzi, Krystal Campbell, Martin Richard
  2. Overcoming Evil

Emotions and Decisions

One of the survivors says that he's angry. That's understandable. Anger is a very natural response to this sort of atrocity.

What a person decides to do about anger or any other emotion is what makes a difference. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1767)

By itself, anger isn't good, and it isn't bad:
"ANGER: An emotion which is not in itself wrong, but which, when it is not controlled by reason or hardens into resentment and hate, becomes one of the seven capital sins. Christ taught that anger is an offense against the fifth commandment (1765, 1866, 2262).
(A, Glossary, Catechism)
The rules are basically simple:
This sort of love is an act of will, not necessarily accompanied by warm fuzzy feelings. (Catechism, 1766)

When folks behave themselves, loving my neighbor is fairly easy. When a neighbor does something that's destructive, we're still supposed to love our neighbor.

That's not the same as trying to believe that evil acts are good. As I've said before, "love" isn't "approval." (April 26, 2011)
"...although we can judge that an act is in itself a grave offense, we must entrust judgment of persons to the justice and mercy of God."
(Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1861)
Having good judgment isn't being judgmental. (October 12, 2011)

1. Lu Lingzi, Krystal Campbell, Martin Richard

"Lu Lingzi identified as third Boston Marathon victim by Boston University"
Newsday (April 17, 2013)

"A little boy cheering with his family. A young woman reveling in her favorite day. A student from a nearby university watching with friends..

"Three people participating in an American tradition became part of American history -- spectators killed in the bombings at Monday's Boston Marathon....

"...The university Wednesday identified the victim as Lu Lingzi, a graduate student in mathematics and statistics....

"...She was originally from China's northeastern city of Shenyang....

"...Lu had been watching the race with two friends near the finish line, the university said....

"...Krystle Campbell, 29, of Medford, Mass., was killed as she watched the marathon with a friend, said William Campbell Jr., 56, by telephone....

" 'She was incredible,' the heartbroken father said. 'She was there for everyone, no matter what.'.

"...Campbell, a manager trainee at a steakhouse chain, was near the finish line to cheer for her friend's boyfriend when the bombs exploded, family said....

"...Martin Richard, 8, of Boston's Dorchester neighborhood, also was identified by family as a victim of the bombings. Martin was remembered as a 'sweet' boy with a bright smile and passion for soccer and baseball.

"The bombs exploded as the boy and his family gathered near the finish line to cheer on friends running to raise money for charity.

"William Campbell said he was 'angry' at whoever perpetrated the attack...."

"Slain Catholic boy remembered by Boston community"
CNA/EWTN News (April 16, 2013)

"The young Catholic boy killed when a bomb exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon is being remembered by his family and educators for his kindness and enthusiasm.

"Russ Wilson, regional director of the Pope John Paul II Catholic Academy in Dorchester, which 8-year-old Martin Richard attended, told CNA that the child had received his First Communion in May 2012.

"Wilson described the Richards as a wonderful and active family in the school community...."
Three unique individuals lost their lives, and we lost whatever they might have added to our world if they had lived.

Learning who is responsible may help prevent other deaths.

What can and should be done about this sort of attack is another topic, for another post.

2. Overcoming Evil

"Pope Francis calls on Bostonians to
'not be overcome by evil'
Vatican Radio, via (April 16, 2013)

"Pope Francis has sent his 'sympathy and closeness in prayer' to the people of Boston in a telegram sent on his behalf...."

"...The full text of the telegram is below.

"His Eminence Cardinal Sean O'Malley

"Archbishop of Boston

"Deeply grieved by news of the loss of life and grave injuries caused by the act of violence perpetrated last evening in Boston, His Holiness Pope Francis wishes me to assure you of his sympathy and closeness in prayer. In the aftermath of this senseless tragedy, His Holiness invokes God's peace upon the dead, his consolation upon the suffering and his strength upon all those engaged in the continuing work of relief and response. At this time of mourning the Holy Father prays that all Bostonians will be united in a resolve not to be overcome by evil, but to combat evil with good (cf. Rom 12:21), working together to build an ever more just, free and secure society for generations yet to come.

"Cardinal Tarcisio BertoneSecretary of State."
Here's that verse from Romans:
"Do not be conquered by evil but conquer evil with good."
(Romans 12:21)
I think that is very good advice: and does not mean that we're supposed to sit back with blank smiles, thinking happy thoughts. In my case, part of my job is to make sure that my anger about this attack on innocent people does not turn into hatred of the people responsible. That would be a very bad idea: and is against the rules.

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