In 2003, I had this deal with my oldest daughter when she spent five months as an exchange student at Hebrew University in Israel.
If there was any terrorist incident — a shooting or a bombing or anything of that nature — she was to call immediately to let her mother and me know she was OK.
She arrived in Jerusalem in July. On Aug. 19, a Hamas suicide bomber blew himself up on a double-length bus filled with adults and children returning from a visit to the Western (Wailing) Wall. It was a powerful explosion, murdering seven kids and 16 adults, and injuring 130, including 40 children.
Our daughter dutifully called. She had been in her room at the university when the atrocity occurred. Even as relief swept over me to hear she was OK, I mourned for all those fathers and mothers whose kids weren’t OK. Then a chill went through me when I heard what my daughter said next.
“Daddy,” she said softly, “I could hear the explosion from my room.”
I couldn’t help but remember those words when I thought about the carnage Monday at the Boston Marathon. The Jerusalem bomb and the ones in Boston were both spiked with ball-bearings with the express purpose of maiming as many innocent people as possible, and neither perpetrator minded at all that children would die or have limbs torn off their little bodies.
For those of us here, the horrific scenes in Boston will be hard, if not impossible, to forget, unless, of course, it happens again ... and again ... and again.
And it will. Maybe in Boston, maybe in New York, maybe in Albuquerque, N.M., or in Dubuque, Iowa. But it will happen.
As long as there are evil people for whom the ends justify their twisted means, there will be “soft targets” such as streets, restaurants, churches, synagogues, supermarkets and shopping malls where a bomb isn’t likely to be detected before it maims or kills as many innocent victims as possible.