You know how in a fairytale, the last line is "And they lived happily ever after?"
Well, I think every day we learn over and over, there is no "happily ever after."
Brothers Grimm wrote many folk/fairy tales. Many of them, like "Hansel and Gretel," have horrific story lines. Hansel and Gretel live with their father and stepmother. They're very poor and there is a famine. Stepmom convinces Dad that the children eat too much and have to go. She convinces him to take them into the woods and leave them to fend for themselves. The kids overhear the plot, Hansel gathers up stones and when Dad takes them out into the woods, Hansel leaves a trail for them to find their way back home. Stepmom is furious and again convinces Dad to take them further into the woods and leave them. This time, Stepmom makes sure the kids are locked up before they leave, and in the morning Hansel can only grab bread on their way out. He leaves a trail of bread crumbs but they're eaten by birds. This time, they're really on their own. They eventually come upon a little cottage made out of gingerbread and candy. So hungry, they start to nibble on the house, which is owned by a wicked witch who eats children. Her house is what entices children to come to her door. She captures Hansel and Gretel, puts Hansel in a cage to fatten him up and makes Gretel her slave. When the witch tells Gretel to check the oven so she can roast Hansel to eat, Gretel plays stupid and the witch has to show her what she is to do, Gretel shoves the witch in the oven where she dies a horrible death. Hansel is freed, they find treasures in the cottage, take the treasures, find their way back home where they learn Stepmom is dead and their father is overjoyed to see them and they live happily ever after.
Moral of the story is ... if you have terrible things happen to you, don't worry, you'll win the lottery and you'll live happily ever after.
And then there's real life.
Columbine. 9/11. Sandy Hook Elementary. And now, the Boston Marathon. The list of what man does against man grows longer and more abominable. What kind of happily ever after can the victims and their families of crimes like this ever have?
In the latest hideous crime against innocent people, we've learned about the deaths of Krystle Campbell, 29, Martin Richard, 8 and a Chinese national grad student.
Another 183 people were injured, some losing limbs, like brothers J.P. and Paul Norden, each losing a leg. Think about it. It's devastating to anyone to lose a limb, but to have two people in one family to each lose a leg, I can't begin to fathom the healing and emotional strain this will have on them and their families.
For those of us who weren't in New York, Connecticut, Boston, Columbine, or any of the other sites in America that have suffered such tragedy, we are paying a price also. Bomb by bomb, gunshot by gunshot, we are becoming more and more frightened.
I remember walking everywhere as a kid. I walked to Girl Scouts, choir practice, friends' houses. I biked on long stretches of country roads, by myself. I never ever once felt fear. But by the time my daughter was born, fear had seeped into our daily lives as I had to warn her not to go into a public bathroom by herself, or to accept stickers from anybody. We had to develop a password system so she would know to never get in a car with anyone who didn't know the password.
Now we can't open our doors to strangers and don't trust anyone who has a cell phone because you never know what pictures have been taken and later appear on YouTube that can ruin our reputations and lives. We have to guard our identities, lest they be stolen, and don't walk to our cars in a mall parking lot alone. Some foods in our grocery stores make us sick, and so can touching door knobs and grocery cart handles. If something ingested comes in a package that has been sealed, make sure it hasn't been tampered with. The list grows longer every day.
Now we have to fear attending joyful events that draw large crowds because they make perfect targets for sick and twisted minds to try and wreak havoc on the American spirit.
They're like the Stepmom and evil witch in Hansel and Gretel. They try to instill fear in us, which weakens us.
But what those evil-minded despots end up doing, is create in us a stronger desire to survive and rise above the calamities they rain down on us. I wouldn't be a bit surprised if the Boston Marathon next year has its biggest turnout ever, just so we can say to those sniveling cowards who planted those bombs, "In your face!"
In President Franklin D. Roosevelt's first inaugural address in 1933, he said, "The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself."
If we let those who try to make us fearful succeed, we allow them to win.
In these dark days after a Boston Marathon bombing, a 9/11, Americans feel fear, but we always rally to the aid of our brothers and sisters. In every dark hour we face nationally, the American spirit keeps lifting us up. We keep enduring, we keep reviving. Maybe we can't give a happily ever after fairy tale ending to the victims of these types of atrocities, but we can offer them our support and a promise that like the wicked witches in a Brothers Grimm story, we will find the cowards who did this and if they should end up falling into a burning oven of hell, so be it.