Dont’t call it a tragedy. An avalanche is a tragedy. An earthquake, cancer, a ship lost at sea is a tragedy. This is an outrage. Don’t call it a senseless act of violence. Child abuse is a senseless act of violence. A sucker punch, a drunken bar brawl, a mugging of an elderly person is a senseless act of violence. This is a coldly calculated attack which, sick and evil as it is, was “sensible” in the minds of the attackers.
These men had intention, strategy, ideology, and unlike an avalanche or a train wreck, the human capacity to change their minds and not plant and detonate bombs in a crowded place. But they chose not to change their minds. They chose to kill and maim our neighbors, friends, and guests in our city. Children. In our city while we were celebrating a day that commemorates the birth of individual freedom as the bedrock concept of government and the right of people to form a government run by ordinary people for the benefit of ordinary people. Government by the people for the people. Patriots Day.
Don’t say there are no words. There are words. Words like consequence, punishment, and death. Words like no mercy for the enemies of human progress and peace.
Harsh words, it’s true. But the western world (and Russia and most of Asia and Africa) has spent more than 2000 years shedding blood and enduring misery to learn a few good goddamned truths, and the truth above all that the descendants of the patriots who started a war in my Boston backyard 250 years ago know is this: we are endowed by our creator with the unalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and that no religion, ideology, government, or law can be allowed to subvert that right to individual freedom. The men who planned and carried out this murder and mayhem today, and those who sympathize with them, must be removed permanently from our civil society. The consequence of your actions today is punishment, and the punishment is death.
Don’t say, Pray. Pray if you want; if it gives you comfort, motivation, solace, or peace, do pray. But don’t tell us to pray. That is an abdication, and abdication of responsibility is a sin. The God you pray to will act in his infinite wisdom. It’s not for us to use prayer as a human solution. We can only pray in grace (without sin) for two things: intercession and wisdom, neither of which will bring back the dead, heal the wounded, or prevent the next attack. The only solution for humans – the only one ever offered to us is to ACT. We must think, we must choose, we must act, we must DO.
This is Boston. Here when somebody punches you, you punch back. Every kid in this city, whether Mattapan, Southie, East Boston, Roxbury, or Roslindale knows: if somebody attacks you, you fight back. You have to fight back. The first time, the second time, the last time. Until the one who wants to break you is broken himself. There can be no peace otherwise.
You took a Dorchester boy today, and Dorchester doesn’t forget, and Dorchester punches back.