Searching for answers in bombing

Published 12:41 am Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Another attack. Another story about death in a place where death shouldn’t happen.

This time the victims are young people attending a concert in England. There are scenes of horror as parents rush to find their children, praying they are not among the dead and injured.

Sadly, stories like this aren’t as shocking as they were a few years ago. In fact, hardly a week goes by without a suicide bomber who blows himself or herself up, killing innocent others as well.

And are we surprised these days when we hear about a vehicle speeding into a crowd, mowing people down like weeds. Sometimes, these incidents barely get a mention on social media, especially if they happen outside our country. This is particularly true if the attack is in an Eastern country that feels like a strange unknown place to us English-speaking people.

I fear we are some how desensitized to the violence, ready to blame rather than look for reasons why this is happening. There are no simple answers, and I don’t think the solution is simple either.

Does meeting violence with violence stop the violence? That doesn’t seem to be working. Still, how can we sit back and not do something when there are people so angry that they are willing to take their own lives to see that others die.

I heard an “expert” talking about the attack at the concert say, “This is the norm now.” He said we have to accept that there are evil people out there who want to kill others.

True, there are people who think taking lives is some kind of an answer, a way of sending a message about their cause. Sad, when we hear that this is now our normal. Again, I wonder what will work to lessen the hatred that is surely behind the behavior.

In my head, there is an echo of the verses I learned in Sunday school. Words like, love your enemies, do unto others, turn the other cheek…

How do they fit with the admonishment about accepting that evil people exist? Are we supposed to love and forgive in the face of senseless acts of violence? What do we say to parents who are waking up to the reality of having lost a child who was doing something as innocent as attending a concert?

Is there a way to reach beyond the separation that makes us turn against each other in such horrible ways? Will we ever be able to see past our differences and stop thinking we must either convert everyone to our particular beliefs or destroy them altogether?

These questions swirl around in my head as rain beats down on the roof. It is a fitting accompaniment for the confusion in my head.

I know the popular way of thinking is we need more bombs, more military, more ways to attack and destroy. Is this our best answer? I don’t know, but it doesn’t feel like it some how. It’s what we’ve been doing for pretty much all of human history, and yet here we are with suicide bombings and countries where entire populations are starving, fleeing and dying.

Yet again comes the question, what do we do?

So, with the rain pounding and my thoughts racing, I did something I used to do as a child. I grabbed the Bible I carried with me to Sunday school and let it fall open, hoping to find guidance in whatever passage I read first.

Here are the words in I John that grabbed my attention. I’ll end with them and with the hope we find our way.

“He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now.

“He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him.

“But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.”


Nancy Blackmon is a former newspaper editor and a yoga teacher.