Can you imagine what kind of character can sit it his burrow watching what he perpetrated? (I know it may prove to be a “she” or even a “they,” but here for journalistic purposes it is “he.”)
What glee he must have felt when he heard the explosions. There must have been surge of adrenalin looking at the broken bodies, warm blood splattered, human limbs ripped off. The panic on faces must have put a glow on his face. The screams of horror and shouts of anguish gave a rush. Knowing of the terror amid the crowd surely was fulfilling.
How do you explain a positive response to such agony? In a word — “evil.”
There is no way the perpetrator could conceive of the tsunami of suffering to follow. The explosion was equivalent to an earthquake. The wave of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is the tidal wave. The pattern of PTSD will be played out in countless lives with the accompanying anguish. First, the nightmarish re-visualizing the scene followed by a desire for disengagement from others and, ultimately, anger. The combined pressures frequently produce alcoholism or drug abuse by persons trying such improper ways of relieving the torment.
And there he sits satisfied he did a good thing in a good way. Mission accomplished.
Having failed to count the cost, his payday will come. He will be caught and after a ridiculously long time in the court system be found guilty.
Recently, an al-Qaida leader issued a pronouncement telling devotees worldwide they don’t need to come to an al-Qaida stronghold to be trained as a jihadist. He correctly said all the information you need to be a jihadist is on the Internet. He urged them to be self-taught, home-grown terrorists. Could Boston be Exhibit A?
In defense of jihadists’ actions an acquaintance told me recently it is misunderstood, that the word means “to do god a favor.” The God I know doesn’t want such favors. He calls them evil.
If the person who did this deed proves to be a jihadist he watched all that carnage feeling good about the big favor he did his god. More difficult than understanding the deed is understanding such motivation.
Our world seems to have entered a new era in which evil has been unleashed in ways formerly unknown and an extent unimagined with no cessation envisioned.
It is bigger than all of us, BUT ... Within the sphere of our own influence we can help restrict it. The “it” referenced is “evil.”
I had a friend in New Orleans who lived on Canal Street. He told me many Thursday nights he caught the trolley and transferred to get to his church to get an assignment of someone to visit for the church. He said often as he walked out of his house there was a young boy sitting on the steps of the house across the street. Occasionally he would wave to the boy, who rarely responded.
My friend concluded, “What a difference it might have made if I had walked across the street, sat down with the boy and explained the love of God to Lee Harvey Oswald,” assassin of President Kennedy.
We can’t wipe out evil all together, but if we will get serious about our stabilizing faith and share it we, can reduce it.
People across the nation and around the world are sending messages saying they are praying for the people of Boston. Let’s join them and additionally pray for the spiritual life of America.
The Rev. Dr. Nelson Price is pastor emeritus of Roswell Street Baptist Church.