The key word there is almost.
I do hope they catch the Boston bomber(s) and that whoever it may be is actually brought to justice. It’s okay to pray for justice. So long as we know what we are actually praying for.
But part of me hopes that they never catch the bomber. I say this because of the irresponsibility of our media and because of our growing culture of narcissism. At present we don’t know the identity of the bomber(s). We know nothing of his/her story. We can’t put a face to it. There are no stories asking, “What caused _____ to do this?”
Because of that our attention has to focus on the victims and the pain. On the morning after we feel the pain of a family that lost their eight-year-old son. A young man, full of life, eating ice cream one second, in eternity the next. In these moments we ask all the questions that pain causes us to ask. We grieve. We mourn. We hope. We try to make sense of shattered remains. We hurt.
Once the perpetrator is found our eyes will turn away from the victim to the person behind the attacks. We will know more about him than we know about that eight-year-old boy. His face will be plastered over every news station. He will go down in history. And our pain will turn to outrage.
Somewhere a teenager or a desperate narcissist of any age will view this perpetrator with a different set of eyes. He’ll begin seeing this perpetrator as successful, accomplishing the fame and attention that this failed narcissist would like to achieve himself. His eyes will not see the victims. His heart will not feel the pain. Mass murder, bombing, terror, will now become a means to an end; namely getting his face on every newspaper in America.
That’s why I almost hope they never catch the Boston bomber. This way we can’t make another “hero”. We won’t be able to quickly turn our hearts away from our pain or away from the victims; we will be forced to feel instead of pontificate.
Or maybe when they do find the perpetrator we’ll have the chutzpah to keep our eyes and attention where it belongs—on the victims, and not on a shameful person engaging in pathetic acts of terrorism.
Mike regularly blogs at Borrowed Light. You can follow him on Twitter (@mikeleake).