Do you know what I’ve discovered? The President is correct: this has been one hell of a week! I’ve been so stressed out worrying and praying for my fellow Americans that all I could do was eat and pray—pray and eat (my way of dealing with stress which seems to make me fatter, albeit, not any holier).
Garfield by cartoonist Jim Davis
This “hell of a week” started out with the colossal moral failure of four Democrats (4 votes if you don’t count Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s “procedural ‘no’ vote”—WTF??): Sens. Max Baucus, Mark Begich, Heidi Heitkamp and Mark Pryor, voting “no” against universal background checks for gun purchases because of their lily-livered fear of the NRA. The fact that the majority of the Republican Senators voted against the bill didn’t come as a surprise (kudos to the courageous Republicans who showed moral fortitude in voting “yes”), but the Democrats who betrayed the 20 innocent children slaughtered in Newtown and the thousands of others across our land since then made me madder than Hell and sent me straight to the gluten-free cheesecake.
Cartoonist: Steve Sack/Chicago Star Tribune
What brought me to my knees, crying out to a God for help who I am confident exists but sometimes seems to be on an extended holiday, was the nightmare we’ve all just woken up from: Boston under siege. Even my dreams reflected my fears. The night of the Boston Marathon bombing I dreamt that my husband (WW) and I were being chased by rabid paparazzi as if we were Hollywood stars. My white husband (WW), who is always pitch perfect in tone and dress, wore a sharp black pin-striped suit with a patriotic tie (in real life he looks like a Presbyterian minister or president of the RNC, so this outfit is de rigueur for him). I, the chocolate Lucille Ball of my family who often makes missteps in my fashion choices (I once wore a stunning white suit with matching hat and veil to a wedding—don’t ask!), walked beside WW in a two-piece skimpy bikini (seriously, demon-dream tormentors, did you lose your minds?). Feeling particularly vulnerable with my exposed, pudgy body, I kept crying out for some type of “grace” to provide me a swimsuit covering to escape the tormenting laughter of the paparazzi who were chasing after me to get pictures of my fluffy-nutter midriff. I kept asking WW why someone with “power” didn’t show up to rescue me from my shabby wardrobe faux pas—where was a helper when you really needed one?
Fortunately, I woke up from my naked dream, and I turned on the news to see what progress had been made in capturing the Boston Marathon terrorists. I heard an interview with a retired FBI agent who said something that will stick with me for the rest of my life. When questioned by the interviewer if we’d ever catch the perpetrators, the very wise FBI profiler said something tantamount to this: “Oh, we’ll catch them—one way or the other—today or another day—we’ll catch them, because these terrorists don’t know what they don’t know. In other words, they are arrogant of their ignorance.” The profiler went on to explain that no matter how meticulous a plan is to commit a crime, there is always something that the perpetrators are blind to or unaware of that will eventually trip him or her up. It was right then and there that I realized the Boston terrorists had planned everything “perfectly,” but in their arrogance they were ignorant to God’s grace appearing on the scene masquerading as ordinary helpers and undermining the bad guys’ ability to escape.
The surveillance camera on a Lord & Taylor store, across where the second bomb exploded, provided video of the area and captured the first grainy images of the terrorists.
Carlos Arredondo (a peace activist): the man in the white cowboy hat who had come to the race to honor his two dead sons (one died in Iraq and the other committed suicide in response to his brother’s death), who ran toward the explosion, put tourniquets on Jeff Bauman who lost both legs from one of the bombs, rushed Jeff to the first ambulance to arrive, and reassured the young man that he would be okay.
Jeff Bauman: the amputee (saved by Carlos Arredondo) who demanded a pen and piece of paper as soon as he came out of surgery while he was still groggy, because he wanted to let the police know that he had seen the bomber put down a backpack—had made eye contact with the man—and could describe him (“Bag. Saw the guy, looked right at me,” Jeff Bauman wrote.).
Heroes Carlos Arredondo and Jeff Bauman | Charles Krupa—AP Photo
Bob Leonard: a Boston Marathon veteran, who always stood in the same place year after year, snapped 10 – 20 photos a minute of the crowd and the winners as they approached the finish line. His photos of the two terrorists were the first crystal-clear images of the men and gave law enforcement their first breakthrough in the case and ultimately led to the demise of suspect #1 (Black Cap).
David Henneberry: A man who stepped outside of his house for a smoke less than an hour after police lifted a stay-indoors order for Watertown and the surrounding area. He saw blood on the tarp of his boat in his yard, gingerly lifted a corner of the cover to discover someone in the boat, and very wisely ran back into the house and called the police. The police had combed that area for hours and were pulling out to leave, figuring that suspect #2 (White Cap) had slipped through their net. Because of the actions of the smoking resident, the 5-day reign of terror came to an end for Boston, and the country breathed a sigh of relief as Bostonians cheered the jubilant declaration: “WE GOT HIM!”
Cartoonist: Randy Bish
I am discovering that sometimes the question is not why did you let this happen, God, but it is more significant to ask: Where were you in the midst of all this chaos and pain? Bad shit happens to good people here, there, and everywhere because we are free as human souls to choose between good and evil (if I ever get a chance to create my own world, nobody will have the freedom to choose anything—I’ll guarantee you that). Being able to recognize God’s grace in the midst of evil keeps us from losing our minds, especially when we don’t understand why the bad things are happening to good people in the first place.
I am also discovering that the arrogance of evil is always ignorant of the good that is ever prevalent—ever watching and all-powerful—to defeat evil in the end. But we must be very careful not to become like those who attacked us. Within the last 48 hours, a female doctor by the name of Heba Abolaban (dressed in a hijab and carrying her baby) was attacked on a Boston street. According to the Huffington Post, the attacker hit her and shouted: “Fuck you Muslims! You are terrorists! I hate you! You are involved in the Boston explosions! Fuck you!” We all must resist the pull to allow our anger to descend into “demonic anger” (“characterized by a fury that takes over or possesses us”) as Paul Brandeis Raushenbush so eloquently described it in his article* on responding to Boston anger. Instead we must get angry—very angry—at the evil perpetrated by the terrorists, but it must be a “righteous anger” that does not forgo justice or strike out at the innocent so that we maintain what Raushenbush says makes us “people of peace, compassion and justice, that we want to be in this world.”*
Cartoonist: David Baldinger
“It is the certainty that they possess the truth that makes men cruel.”― Anatole France
“I see myself capable of arrogance and brutality… That’s a fierce thing, to discover within yourself that which you despise the most in others.”—George Stevens
“For all the different labels that get attached to it—terrorism, serial killing, ethnic war—much of mass violence is actually one big thing: the attempt by a small group of nihilistic and idiosyncratic individuals to murder, indiscriminately, a great many more.”—Charles King (“Every American Muslim’s Fear after the Boston Bombing”/Daily Beast)
*RESPONDING TO BOSTON ANGER: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/paul-raushenbush/responding-to-boston-anger_b_3092758.html
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.