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May 2, 1995

After the initial trauma of the Oklahoma City bomb explosion, many of us thought the mental horror would go away, or at least begin to subside. But each new day brings word of still more heartbreaking, intensely tragic stories, giving rise to almost unbearable feelings of grief. We are visited over and over by the specter and a sense of the terror that must have been felt by those who were so cruelly slain in the catastrophe, and the feeling won't go away.

In a frightening moment dozens of human beings were snatched from this life, the wall of a nine-story building was sheared off, atomized, in a cataclysmic explosion that caused an entire nation to shudder in horror.

Our sense of helplessness and loss is intensified by the fact of the disaster's location in Oklahoma City, an unlikely setting for such an aberration. Perry's role in the drama with the capture of a prime suspect in this peaceful little community is as improbable as the rest of the story.

This generation is destined to live with those awful images of bloodied and dead babies, broken adult bodies, collapsed and shattered buildings, rescuers staring at the scene of death and destruction with the knowledge that they are helpless to comfort or spare those trapped in the rubble. These things will stay with us the rest of our lives. Our sadness cannot come close to the grief experienced by those who lost children or close family members in that horror. We can only guess at the depth of their sorrow and lament for them as we contemplate it.

The poignancy is increased by the knowledge that other acts of terrorism may be waiting just around the corner. How on earth can more such calamities be avoided, now that some fringe lunatics have mastered the art of doing it? A few years ago skyjacked airliners were the horrifying acts du jour, but we found the means to curb those crimes. Now, from the Mideast and other crazies, we have learned to park vehicles at strategic places, wired for detonation to train down death and destruction on innocent victims in public buildings. How can that be successfully addressed to prevent repetition? Pray that an answer will be found.

We wait fretfully for justice, to punish those responsible, but can anything bring back the victims or ease the suffering left in their wake? There are no answers to any of those questions, at least none that seem satisfactory today.

Time may bring about a healing, but it will be a protracted process at best. If man is bent on destruction of civilization and society, he may succeed. Unless there is a change in mankind.

So, yes, there may be hope for us. Perhaps nothing short of a miraculous spiritual awakening and rebirth of morality can bring an end to these hate-driven, mindless assaults. Pray that the way may be cleared for all of us to find and follow that path.

You and I are not likely to become bomb throwers or terrorists. Our role may be only to weep for the victims, the tiny ones and the others, but it just may be that within each of us, my friend, is the spark that will turn our world around. We can begin by loving, truly loving, our fellow beings, and treating them with the honor that God has conferred upon us as His sons and daughters. I believe it's called the Golden Rule.