Another violent memory

April 17, 2013 

Last December, we all grappled with the unthinkable slaughter at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Months later, during a 26-mile race to commemorate the 26 lives that were lost in Connecticut, we again are subjected to staggering violence and tragedy.

I didn’t talk to my daughter Adaline about Sandy Hook, for obvious reasons. I wouldn’t have even known where to start. I just needed to hug her that day.

But on the way home from work Monday, I did.

I told Addy there was an accident during a race and that some people were hurt, but a lot of people were OK and many people helped out those that were hurt. It was a completely improvised conversation, but she strangely seemed to take it all in.

We got home, turned the TV on, and she asked me if some people were hurt. I said yes. And then she asked me if people were helping others. I said yes again.

And that was about it.

Earlier in the day, I spoke to an old high school friend who lives in Lee’s Summit and had just completed her second Boston Marathon less than 15 minutes before the explosions rocked the finish line.

She was shaken, but OK. And like many that experienced the sheer horror and confusion of the terrorist attack, was left wondering why.

Why do we live in a world where such violence is possible? Why do some radicals choose violence to settle scores, disputes or for other selfish reasons? Why do wonderful people get caught up in horrible situations?

And how on earth do we explain this to our children?

Addy is only 2-and-a-half. My very simple, very brief talk will suffice.

Kids at 5, 10 and even teenagers get a different talk about things like this.

And adults, well, it never gets any easier.

We tend to drift back to the last “where were you” moment in our lives and past tragedies – Sandy Hook, 9/11 and others – and vow to live our lives better, fuller, with more compassion for others and to give more than we get.

I absolutely despise what happened in Boston Monday. The planning and callousness required packing bags with explosives and shrapnel intended to maim and kill is unfathomable.

We don’t understand it and it makes us angry. And I’m still livid.

I cannot stop thinking of those that were there simply to watch loved ones and friends run in a race and at an event that truly showcases what is good about our country and in a sport that is as diversified and inclusive as any we play in this country.

Running and the Boston Marathon brings continents and cultures together.

That’s the same collaboration and cooperation we are going to need to send a clear message that terrorism – foreign or domestic – is not going to be tolerated.

John Beaudoin is the publisher of the Lee’s Summit Journal. To comment, call 816-282-7001 or e-mail jbeaudoin@lsjournal.com.

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