JOHN NORTON: We must not continue to live in fear

I had the opportunity to attend the University of Michigan at Notre Dame football game last fall in South Bend.

Night game. Under the lights. Both teams nationally ranked, with the Irish undefeated. The atmosphere was electric.

The blimp was above the stadium. The fans in the Irish student section, after having most of Saturday to “prep” for the game, were fully lubricated and were rowdy.

Fighter jets roared past after the national anthem, so fast and so loud it startled me.

Maybe it was the jets, maybe it’s the world in which we now live, post Sept. 11, but a fleeting thought occurred to me that night, that some terrorist could inflict tremendous harm at a gathering of so many people in one place. With the spotlight on.

Like in Boston last week.

During a premier sporting event in our country, the famed Boston Marathon, two nut-job terrorists with dark hearts full of hate, killed and maimed and brought unspeakable suffering, fear and terror to our fellow Americans.

You all know the details.

That fear ripples everywhere.

A colleague of mine is running a road race this summer with her husband. Their 11-year old, who isn’t insulated from news, after seeing the tragedy unfold in Boston, asked if they’d be safe at their run.

How incredibly sad. When an 11-year-old girl worries about her parents safety at a run to stay healthy in Michigan. When an 8-year-old dies in the bombing, there with family watching and rooting for runners. The most extreme example of just being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Man’s inhumanity to man. From the Holocaust, to child/spouse abuse down the street, to highway snipers, to these random acts of incredible violence.

Each episode erodes part of our freedom, part of our security.

At road races. On airplanes. At football games.

Oh, the game in South Bend was a defensive battle, and five Irish interceptions made the difference.

My favorite team lost. Who cares?

At times like these, it’s a stark reminder that it doesn’t matter one iota.

My friend and I made it home from the game safe. Our hearts ache for those in Boston who did not.

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