There are always losers. That’s what the uncle of the two boys who set bombs at the finish line of the Boston Marathon called them: “losers.”
The uncle, also from Chechnya, also a Muslim, is a winner, and a man who loves the opportunity that America has given him and his family. His is ashamed of his nephews, what they have done to Americans, to Muslims, to Chechens.
The two boys were also very different. It is hard to understand how the younger one followed his older brother into terrorism. The last few months had been tough on him, too, but we don’t yet have a good idea of cause and effect, whether his implosion as a student and citizen was the cause or result of his taking the path to hell.
Their father, too, who returned to Chechnya, who says his boys didn’t do this, who says they were framed: How did that father contribute to the tragedy of lives lost, those of his own sons and of those they murdered and maimed? Or is he yet another victim?
This was not an act by Muslims, not an act by Chechens. This was an act by misguided young men like Timothy McVey, who blew up that building in Oklahoma. And there may be no cure for that in a free society, in any society. It may be biology, genes programmed to create cannon fodder; it may be chaos. But we should not rush to fix something that may have no fix, especially when the solution destroys what we are trying to protect.
Hopefully the man in the cowboy hat who saved the life of the young man who helped solve the crime will find meaning… the loss of his own two sons lessened by what his heroism accomplished. Nothing can bring peace, but perhaps his pain can be reduced for a few minutes each day.
There is much to think about the amazing accomplishment for law enforcement, too, in a world that is changing faster than anyone could have imagined.