THE BLOG

The Price Paid

04/26/2013 03:50 pm ET | Updated Jun 26, 2013

You know that sensation you get whenever you see a motorway smash-up? It turns your stomach. You feel physically sick. You count your blessings and move on. That is the price we pay for the freedom to drive where we wish. Now another bombing has grabbed the news. 282 people were injured, many very badly, and 3 were killed. The murderers were two ordinary young men with loving parents who protest their innocence. One of these is already dead, following a police shoot-out. The other faces a possible death sentence if convicted of the crime.

Our stomach was turned. We felt physically sick on hearing the news. Those of us not directly affected have already counted our blessings and we will move on. The usual accounting is under way. Who knew what, when and where? What could have been done that was not done? After a catastrophe on the road, some improvements are generally made - to road layout, to car design, to driver education, to the rules of the road. But rarely is our freedom to drive questioned. After a mass murder, such as took place in Boston on April 15th this year, our freedom, once again, becomes the thorny issue.

We all endure enough nonsense at airports not to want more restrictions. We know our emails and telephone conversations are screened, but ignore this in the interest of safety, as we ignore the myriad of cameras now recording our progress through each day. We live in a village once more in which everyone knows everyone else's business, and are on the lookout for strangers who might do us harm. But we can't quite circle the wagons to keep evil at bay, because it is often strangers who bring us news and novelty.

No, our approach to such calamities as the Boston bombing must be quite clinical, as it is in respect of roads. But along with improved intelligence and security there is one element we should not ignore: the story that seeks to justify the act. The mother of terrorism is a feeling of powerlessness in the face of perceived injustice. So our attack against the narrative of injustice must be as robust as our attack against terrorism, even at the expense of our own discomfort. In this way, we will eventually end up on the same side, sharing the same story. This can be a hard road to travel certainly, but in our complex world, it is the price we must pay for freedom.

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