They. are. kids.
That was my reaction when I saw the pictures of the two suspects responsible for the bombings at the Boston Marathon.
And one of those kids is now dead at age 26. I guess I should call him a young man. His younger brother, only 19, has the entire city of Boston looking for him. I wonder how it's even possible he'll be captured alive. Their family has publicly denounced them, an uncle calling them "losers" on national television.
I'm not saying their age makes what they did excusable. I grieve with the families of those killed and injured. I think what those boys did was atrocious.
But they are so young. And that makes me so sad.
Regardless of what happens as a result of the manhunt, there is no happy ending to this story. The death of the young men responsible for the bombing doesn't bring back the three who died, it doesn't reattach limbs for those who had amputations, and it won't erase the emotional scars of all who were there that day.
This won't be a popular opinion I'm sure, but while I grieve for all those who were lost or hurt in the bombings, I also grieve for the two responsible for it. I am so sad that the first suspect has died. I am sad that the second one might. I don't think more death makes this situation any better.
While I can't be wholly responsible for the actions of others, I don't believe any of us acts in a vacuum. I wonder what happened to those kids to make them capable of bombing the Boston Marathon. What happens to a soul to make one able to do such a thing? I have trouble squishing bugs... I can't begin to imagine what kind of soul-twisting would have to happen to me in order to make me capable of willfully harming someone else. How have we failed those boys? It sounds as if their family moved them here in hopes of a better life, a better way for their family.
So today, I'm praying. A lot. I'm lifting up the families of those who were harmed, for the families who are grieving. I pray for the family of the young men responsible - I can't imagine their shock and horror at what their family members have done. And I pray for the boy on the run. He's a 19 year old boy. And he has done something unspeakably tragic and horrible. And his brother was killed. I pray for peace for his heart, that he will turn himself in, that God will work something miraculous in his life.
Because if you know any 19 year old boys... or any 26 year old young men... you know they still have a lot of growing up to do. We all did at those ages.
And I pray for all of us watching, those of us glued to the tv and internet, watching and waiting. I pray for our souls - that we won't be thirsting for more bloodshed, that we'll all seek the comfort and peace of our Creator and seek ways to treat one another more gently.