Investigators may or may not be able to supply us with the answers in the coming days and weeks, but we can be sure that their search for the answers will be vigorous and as thorough as possible. After all, they have over 11.5 years of training to now put to a good, however sad, purpose. They will seek and receive assistance from law enforcement and intelligence agencies in other countries. They will study the forensic evidence for clues. They will follow up on and investigate credible leads. They will have a purpose and, because of that purpose, they will feel useful, doing something for the defense and protection of our fine country.
Meanwhile the rest of us, the civilian citizens, must wrestle with our own questions: am I safe? Could it happen in my city? Neighborhood? At my workplace? Here in Minnesota, we've managed our fears of missile attacks in the past -- because of the industries here, we knew we were on the Soviets' hit list -- and we've had our share of serial killers, mass shootings, and natural disasters. One man connected to the 9/11 terrorists even tried to take flying lessons in the state. But since I have lived in the state, I don't recall any bombings like those in Boston yesterday. We have a list of "soft targets" too that I will not note here in a probably feeble attempt to make things more difficult for anyone who might read this with the idea of copying yesterday's attack in Minnesota.
As I wrote that last sentence in the paragraph above, I realized that I feel intensely protective today in addition to the daze of shock and the throat-strangling pain of grief. I feel "here we go again" resignation that I will now experience increased security wherever I go. And the fear remains. One official I heard interviewed on NBC last night, I don't remember who it was, commented that unfortunately if someone wants to kill people, they will kill people. Security in an open society can go only so far, and that is our weakness and our strength. Each person remains responsible for his or her own security.
Take a deep breath. Hug your loved ones close. Tell them you love them. Then live. Yes, the world is a dangerous place. It's always been so. We have mechanisms for coping with that aspect of the world that we are born with: recognizing predators, sensing danger, the fight-or-flight response, the ability to defend ourselves. We humans are creative thinkers. The most powerful mechanism we have to deal with the dangerous world is our imagination. With it, we can mourn those we have lost at the same time we carry on....