After the Carnage, How Can We Ever Forgive?

Now that the army of law enforcement officers in their body armor and night-vision goggles have captured a cowering teenager bleeding to death in a backyard boat, we will hear endless paeans to their resolve, to the people of Boston and to the unsinkable American spirit.

You can’t beat us down, terrorists! We are America. We are Boston. We are David Ortiz and the Boston Red Sox.

There’s undeniable truth behind the bravado. America is resilient. Like New York after Nine-Eleven, Boston and the Marathon will prove indestructible. And, hear this, no terrorist will escape America’s justice. No terrorist can kill this nation’s spirit.

But we must not forget the little girl who lies legless in a hospital bed, the 8-year-old boy and two young women who will never see the sun or hear the birds sing again, and so many bereaved families who are left with an ocean of tears to shed.

Bereaved families. Including the mother and father of the suspected bombers – one dead and the other shot up so badly that he cannot speak.

How do we respond to such senseless carnage?

New York State Senator Greg Ball wants to torture the surviving suspect. “Who wouldn’t use torture on this punk to save lives?” the Republican senator tweeted.

He doesn’t explain how torturing 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev would “save lives.” Presumably, he thinks the young man knows of other bombs hidden across Boston, or across America. This fear seems quite widespread, and it has renewed the debate over the validity of torturing terror suspects.

There’s a “fight fire with fire” argument that seems to make sense.  But it has no moral justification. If this nation insists on calling itself Christian, I would remind our politicians of this admonition from the one we hold to be the Son of God:

Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.

My late mothera devout Catholicwould likely remind us that St. Augustine told us to hate the sin but love the sinner.

Who could love the vicious beasts that so casually and mindlessly blew up innocent people? Who could feel pity for such scum?

You know who, of course. Christians pray for His mercy. “Forgive us our trespasses,” we pray, “as we forgive those who trespass against us.”

I know. Forgiving is not easy. Not when innocent people are sacrificed to a cause they have nothing to do with. Not when ingrates granted asylum by this kind-hearted nation turn on their benefactors with such utter ferocity.

But when we repay evil with good, we sow the seeds of peace in the long run. When we repay evil with evil, we fuel an endless fire that feeds on itself forever.

Blood lust begets blood lust. Revenge begets revenge.

In the end, it is love that conquers all.

Photos above show Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, left, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, the two Muslims of Chechen origin suspected in the Boston Marathon terror attack. Tamerlan, the elder brother, was killed in a police shootout; the younger brother, 19-year-old Dzhokhar, was captured and is in serious condition in hospital.