By Matthew Rothschild on April 15, 2013

What a horrific tragedy in Boston. The scenes of the carnage are almost unbearable to watch, let alone re-watch. The suffering of the victims -- at least three people dead, and more than 175 wounded -- and their families is too much even to contemplate. And the nihilism of the attackers, the wanton destruction of innocent lives, is utterly incomprehensible.

But before we leap to conclusions about who did these heinous deeds, we need to be cautious and wait for the evidence to come in.

Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis, understandably under enormous pressure, nonetheless was not helpful when he answered a question about whether the explosions were the result of a terrorist attack.

"We're not being definitive, but you can reach your own conclusions," he told reporters at a press conference.

There is no good purpose served by speculation.

And we need to be extremely cautious about taking measures that might curtail our civil liberties in the wake of these bombings.

Our civil liberties have already taken a big enough hit in the post-9/ll era.

In this moment of horror, let us take a couple of deep breaths. Let's let law enforcement figure out who the culprits are and how they managed to wreak their havoc, and let's let them apprehend the culprits.

If we've learned anything after the Oklahoma City bombing and after 9/11, it is that speculation can lead us down the wrong path, and that reacting rashly can have deadly consequences for this country.

If you liked this story by Matthew Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive magazine, check out his story "Obama's Huge Betrayal."

Follow Matthew Rothschild @mattrothschild on Twitter.

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By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).


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