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Lynn Hummel: The nature of good and evil

I am writing this on the day of the running of the 118th Boston Marathon, or more to the point, the first Boston Marathon since the horrific bombing at that event last year. Three were killed and more than 260 were injured — many of them losing legs. How can any good come out of something so evil? Well, it did. There were countless stories of brave and selfless emergency medical workers, police officers, hospital personnel, family, fans and bystanders.

Since then, Boston has shown its strength by supporting the victims and their families, tripling their security and being “Boston Strong.” Does everybody applaud this strength? Well, not everybody. I just read a blog from a guy named Matt who said, “Blah blah blah Boston Strong — so tired of hearing this.”

And that is the nature of good and evil — we will always have both.

Who can forget the horror of the events of 9/11? Over 3,000 Americans were murdered by evil, hating suicide bombers. But every act of evil has in it the seeds of something good.

In New York City, firefighters and police showed bravery beyond belief — many giving their lives to save others. A city with a reputation for rudeness became a city of kindness, love and generosity, caring for others and lending a hand. The U.S.A., in constant political turmoil and division, became unified in its patriotism — flags flying, windows displays, moments of silence and God Bless America at ball games. Before the dust cleared, all the bodies were found, and the tears dried, we were in one of our finest hours. From evil can come good.

Following in nearly every disaster: earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, avalanches, mudslides, fires, and even wars — good people come forward to help strangers. Why? The motives are not always clear or pure: love, faith, compassion, conscience, survivor’s guilt, gratitude or even “pay it forward.” But they come forward.

Not always though. In December, 2012, 20 school kids between the ages of six and seven, and six adults were shot and killed at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. All of the children but two were shot multiple times. The good still hasn’t come out of that insane evil. The seeds have not sprouted. Since then, all we have is a huge increase in the purchase of guns, more school shootings, more shootings of every kind, a school stabbing rampage, more kids being killed by loaded guns their parents stupidly leave around the house and we can’t even seem to agree that it might be a good idea to have background checks before some guns are easily sold to criminals and the mentally ill. Blah blah blah background checks — so tired of hearing this.

Yes, we have the Second Amendment, the right of the people to keep and bear arms. Let us protect the Second Amendment and keep it forever. Hunters are entitled to have guns, citizens are entitled to keep guns for self defense. Collectors cherish their guns. No one should worry about the government taking away all guns. But we also have the Fifteenth, Nineteenth and Twenty-Sixth Amendments, the right of all citizens to vote. Yet, the legislatures of many states in the past year or two have passed laws to make it more difficult to vote. Why can’t we pass some laws to make it more difficult to kill people?