Here's my hope for the Boston Marathon bombing: Maybe it can mark the end of the 9-11 Era. It feels so different from 9-11. Maybe it can exorcize the demons that have haunted us these last dozen years.
9-11 was a wound that refused to heal. Even the heroic stories that came out of 9-11 -- and there were many -- invariably got subsumed by the larger tragedy, like the first responders who charged up a burning tower and died when it collapsed. We could not identify with them or feel connected to their courage, because we lived. To have survived on a day when the real heroes died ... it felt almost shameful.
In addition to shame, the overwhelming emotions of 9-11 were depression and anger and fear. So it's understandable (though still not excusable) that America came out of 9-11 looking for somebody to blame, and wanting to mess them up as badly as we could. If we killed or maimed or tortured innocents in the process, so be it. Collateral damage. Our people had been innocent too.
9-11 was a monstrous act that we couldn't resolve in our hearts, so it turned us into monsters.