“There is a Chinese curse which says ‘May you live in interesting times.’ Like it or not, we live in interesting times. They are times of danger and uncertainty; but they are also the most creative of any time in the history of mankind.”
Capetown, South Africa
June 6, 1966
Many days have come and gone since Robert Kennedy made this speech in 1966, and many innovative ideas have rocked our world. The past 57 years have indeed been some of the “most creative of any time in the history of mankind.” We have explored our Solar System, made medical advances that have increased our life spans, and developed technologies that allow us to communicate instantly with people on the opposite side of the world. However, it seems that we are still cursed to live in “interesting times.”
Yesterday, glued to the chair in front of my computer monitor, I watched the three bombs go off again and again, backing up and replaying the video footage, unable to believe that someone would actually target long-distance runners and their families at the Boston Marathon finish line. Many friends and members of my family are marathon runners, and they are some of the most practical, caring, and courageous people I have ever met. Why would someone consciously choose to harm them? Why was yesterday afternoon in Boston fraught with “danger and uncertainty?”
While we probably will find out who was responsible for making and detonating those weapons, I suspect that we will never understand why. Most Americans no longer believe that killing someone over religious differences is righteous, no longer believe that killing someone over a piece of property is a better solution than settling the argument in court, and no longer believe that killing random strangers to make a point is justified. We don’t understand people who don’t value human life as we do.
That doesn’t mean that we simply accept with dismay the violent actions of those who force “times of danger and uncertainty” upon us. American law enforcement will work within the law to discover the identity of the person responsible for yesterday’s act of terrorism. Then the judicial system will weigh the evidence, and the alleged terrorist will have a fair trial. Adhering to Superman’s ideals of “truth, justice, and the American Way” does not make us weak; the “American Way” keeps us strong by allowing us to keep our humanity intact when we are attacked without provocation. We do “live in interesting times,” but it is how we choose to react when “danger and uncertainty” are forced into our lives that makes us resilient.
My heart goes out to the victims and families of the Boston Marathon terrorist. Know that Americans all over the country are standing with you.
Link to Robert Kennedy’s 1966 speech: http://www.jfklibrary.org/Research/Research-Aids/Ready-Reference/RFK-Speeches/Day-of-Affirmation-Address-as-delivered.aspx