In less than a week, U.S. authorities have tracked down and killed one of the two culprits behind the bombings. As of this writing, they're tracking down the other suspect. The entire city—two cities, Boston and Cambridge—have shut down to apprehend one man. This is what happens when an entire state is looking for you, an entire country. This country.
There's a decidedly foreign couple that live down the street from me. They keep to themselves, for sure. I'm not sure if there's a father in the picture, but I've seen the mom, some mornings, and occasionally a man. I have said "hello" and she's been skittish about being friendly. She's chastised local kids for playing nearby, but nothing too serious. Her teen son seems to be the typical brooding lump. He was cutting grass to make a few bucks a couple summers ago, but stopped due to a "back injury," he said. Since then, I haven't seen the mom too often, but I've seen the son coming and going in his (or her) car. I haven't seen any of them very much, lately. Watching the news, I was reminded of this family. The son's name alone puts him squarely in the same arena as the Marathon bombers.
The bombings weren't the real attack. That was a deadly feint, a jab at our collective physical sense of safety. Terrorists are dangerous because they are dedicated and willing to die for their beliefs. The real attack comes now. The boy next door, his family. Are they dangerous, plotting something? Suspicious behavior, planning an attack of some sort?
Or that could be a family dealing with domestic violence. Who knows? We could be sliding into the cracks of paranoia and self-destruction.
Or we could be better than that.
This country was founded on an idea. It's an idea that can't be destroyed or even broken. You can't touch an idea, but you can share it. We'll never live up to this idea. This country is the journey towards that ideal, driven by an idea that we all share and need to continue sharing. There more people in this country willing to die for this idea than there are willing to try and destroy it. Not that they could; such actions are simply futile. Patton Oswalt was certainly correct, there are more of us than them and there always will be.