I sat on this and I didn’t write about it, because I didn’t know what to say.
I was inspired, today, by the thing Melissa McEwan said at Shakesville in the most recent open thread on the bombing.
There are no simple narratives.
Terrorism is hard because it’s a set of complex circumstances that lead to the simplest of conclusions. People are dead, people are injured, and we are supposed to be scared. Of course it’s human nature to react to fear with anger, and so instead of scared we often react with rage. We want justice (of course), but we also want revenge. We want to hurt the people who hurt us.
But there are no simple narratives.
The suspects were foreign nationals, but they were foreign nationals who’ve lived in the United States for years. We don’t yet know why they did this. But when we find out…when we find out, it will not be a simple story of “We hated America.” Even the World Trade Center wasn’t a simple story of “We hated America.”
These men were failed, profoundly, by the world. I don’t know how, yet. I hope we will find out. I hope we will find out in time to correct course before we, as a civilization, fail another generation of children so profoundly. I hope we find out for so many reasons, but one of them is that if we don’t find out, these men will be reduced to the simplest of narratives.
I am angry. I was scared. But I believe that as a human being I can do better than to react from that place. Not because anyone else deserves better from me, but because I am better. And because there are no simple narratives.