Tragedies often bring out the best in us

The deadly and despicable bombing attacks near the Boston Marathon’s finish line turned the crowd’s cries of joy into cries of terror in mere seconds.

Again, Americans now will place their trust in authorities to resolutely piece together who did it, why they did it and what can be done to try to prevent similar incidents.

Again, Americans’ fears will be ratcheted up about safety at large public events and spaces — fears that must be met with realistic deterrents so the events can go on.

President Barack Obama spoke for all Americans Monday, stating, “We will find out who did this and we will hold them accountable.”

Chaos after the bombing created a firestorm of speculation about suspects who targeted innocent people in a high profile event on Patriots’ Day.

The aftermath brought out the best in many people. Boston residents opened their homes to runners from around the nation and the world.

Some of the 27,000 athletes had checked out of their hotels or couldn’t get to the airport to catch flights in time.

“There is love in this world,” tweeted a Kansas City woman who had finished the 117th Boston Marathon before the explosions. “A sweet woman ... gave us food, shelter and beer!”

The attack on an American sporting institution will undoubtedly lead to changes at next year’s Boston Marathon, a sad reality that follows every major tragedy as society attempts to lessen risks based on past experiences.

However, runners from across the country who train all year to get to Boston likely will not be deterred. The men and women who operate the charities that raise $10 million a year through the marathon will not be deterred. The elected officials and law enforcement officials in Boston will not be deterred from protecting the tradition of the marathon.

All will do their best to make sure the sowers of evil and destruction don’t succeed, and the 118th Boston Marathon goes off as scheduled on April 21, 2014.

Americans will be watching and pulling for that outcome as one of the best ways to stand united against cowardly attacks.

Kansas City Star