It could be a long time before we know anything of substance about why Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev decided to wreak terror on the Boston Marathon. Or it may be that there’s nothing more to know – that they were simply a couple of angry losers caught up in a movement that fueled their rage, and they just decided to hurt people in a big, attention-getting way.
What we do know – what was evident even before the younger Tsarnaev’s arrest on Friday night – is what it looks like when America shows that kind of country we really are.
As heartbreaking as the deaths and horrible injuries were, Monday in Boston saw a lot of heroic action out of people who were merely on the scene. These were not people trained to respond to an emergency, but they were people with hearts who were willing to do whatever was necessary to help their neighbors when it mattered most.
The police and other emergency responders were lights-out brilliant, but so were the mere bystanders for whom it wasn’t their job, but for whom it was a duty to their fellow man. I especially enjoyed reading the story of Tyler Dodd, an unemployed oil rig worker who took the time to reassure an injured woman named Victoria McGrath, then tried his best to remain anonymous because he didn’t want to make it about him.
When Ms. McGrath made a very public attempt to find and thank the man who had helped her, Mr. Dodd finally came forth and we learned about who he is and what motivated him to do what he did – simple human kindness.
We also saw resolve and wisdom from the people of Boston. When the brothers were identified and began their post-bombing rampage – killing a police officer, committing a carjacking and ultimately engaging in the shoot-out with police that got Tamerlan killed – the people of the city understood what they needed to do to set the stage for Dzhokhar’s capture. By staying inside and letting the police do their work, an entire city came together to aid in the capture of a suspect who should recognize something:
The country he hates and decided to attack took him alive, took him for the best medical treatment and will allow him to have the best legal counsel as he stands trial for his deeds. It’s a lot more than he deserves, but it’s how we do things around here and it really makes you wonder why characters like this have such a big problem with the United States of America.
This country has a lot of problems, particularly of an economic nature, and if you read my column regularly you know I have grave concerns about whether our political leaders have the fortitude to solve them. But as we saw last week, this country’s greatest asset is the nature of its people. When the chips are down, you will not find a more impressive combination of courage, decency and intelligence anywhere on this planet. That’s why, no matter what the numbers look like, I would not bet against America.