The deadly bombing attack during the Boston Marathon is a reminder of the vulnerabilities of an open society. It reminds us how one person, or several, can turn a sports celebration into a tragedy.
The 9/11 terrorist attacks changed the lives of Americans, both with the increased security in everyday life and legislation such as the Patriot Act. Society has become more aware of dangers that used to be disregarded, and accepts inconvenienceslike those at airportsin return for feeling safer.
However, absolute security does not exist. It is impossible and not very desirable to live in a shell of securityeven less in a nation like ours, where individual freedom is a fundamental value.
In these cases, experience recommends caution on the part of the authorities. The fact that the White House was careful not to use of the word terrorism until the origin of the explosions was confirmed is a good sign.
It is important for the public to avoid falling into speculation and rushing to judgment that can lead to stereotypes and scapegoats.
We hope the authorities catch the person or persons responsible for the explosions that killed three people and left more than 170 wounded. The full weight of the law must come down on them in an exemplary way.
Meanwhile, life goes on as usual. The intention of a terrorist, whatever his or her motivation, is to create a climate of intimidation by attacking innocents. The point is to disturb the peace of mind when others least expect it. Americans are familiar with that face of terror and know how to tackle it in their daily lives.