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I knew our son-in-law would be wearing the shoes we got him for Christmas, and couldn’t wait to brag about how he did in the Boston Marathon. Instead we got a quick message from our other daughter – she had just gotten a text that he, our daughter, and his parents left the finish line before the explosions hit and were not injured.

originalAlready twitter and other media are flooded with graphic pictures, injured runners and spectators, heroic rescues and sacrifice. We may find out how, and even who, but how can we ever understand WHY?

In the midst of horror, we’re almost embarrassed by our relief that our own are safe. That’s human nature. We pray for the injured and for their families. That’s our humanity. We’re furious and we want to punish those responsible. That’s only human.

But how can we find any humanity in those who think it’s a good idea to use airplanes as murder weapons? Or use automatic weapons on tiny children? Or use bombs to attack runners and spectators who have come from around the world to participate in an athletic event that had nothing to do with politics of any sort?

It’s too easy to say they are sick, or somehow not human. But that answer robs them of the very thing that defines humanity – free will, and the corresponding responsibility for how it is used. Somehow humans use that will to make such a choice. And that is a WHY that the rest of humanity may never have answered.