Ironically, runners like those who rev themselves up for events such as the Boston Marathon are fundamentally connected to 8-year-olds.
As any long-distance runner will tell you, the central attraction of running is its sense of play. It is the kind of playfulness most of us lose in adulthood. But running, like other sports, gives it back. It connects a grown-up to the child he or she used to be.
That's what they say at least.
In a way, it makes an 8-year-old out of a 38-year-old or even an 80-year-old.
That's the poignant irony we keep pondering.
The world is full of grievances. They are universal. Each of us has some list of injustices that roll around in our heads. Some are stronger than others. Some are more genuine that others. Some are real and some are exaggerations and some are figments of the imagination.
Some of us cope with them more constructively than others. But for a bitter few, a grievance is merely a cold rationalization to feed into their deluded narcissism.
What grievance justifies the indiscriminate murder of innocent people?
What grievance justifies the destruction of an 8-year-old boy eating an ice cream cone on a chilly but magical day with the sun shining beyond storybook clouds?
Where is the honor in that? What is the victory to be celebrated in that? What is the behavior to be glorified in that?
Honor humanity, celebrate life, glorify hope.
Much has been discussed in the past few days about the criminals who inflicted incomprehensible suffering at the Boston Marathon. Much more will be analyzed in the days ahead.
Let us learn what we can to protect from their kind of wanton wrongdoing. But let us then erase and forget their names.
Remember instead the name of Martin Richard, a third-grader who'd once held a sign calling for peace that read, "No more hurting people."
Remember Krystle Campbell, a 29-year-old restaurant manager who'd gone to the marathon to photograph a friend's boyfriend as he crossed the finish line.
Remember Lu Lingzi, a 23-year graduate student and vivacious chatterbox who'd had so many friends.
And remember Sean Collier, a likable 26-year-old police officer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who'd been dedicated to his profession.
So many years ahead of them all. So much to accomplish and so many experiences and relationships to come. So many sights still to see.
So many years stolen. All of that stolen. Why and for what reason?
What grievance justified their murders?
What grievance justified the death of an 8-year-old eating ice cream?
The answer, of course, is none.