I will not go downtown today.

Many times I have been to the scene, and I know what it does to me, and I don't think I can go through that again, not on this day of all days.

Ten years ago two madmen took it upon themselves to teach us a lesson, a lesson they thought we needed because we didn't see things their way. The price of their tutelage? A hundred sixty-eight lives destroyed, thousands of others forever changed, millions of dollars in damage.

To the very last day of his life, Timothy McVeigh was convinced that he had won, that he had made his point in such spectacular fashion that no one, not even the executioner at Terre Haute, could deny him his victory.

Terry Nichols, having admitted that his role in the bombing was every bit as big as prosecutors said it was, will sit in a cell in Florence, Colorado until he faces a more final judgment.

And what did we learn from the actions of these men and the conspiracy that drew them together?

We learned that when times are at their worst, we are capable of doing our best.

We learned that people we don't know might suddenly turn out to be our best friends.

We learned that in even in the midst of chaos there are signs of stability and strength.

We learned that where we lived was not some forgotten backwater in the middle of nowhere, but a living, breathing community.

We learned that nothing lasts forever — but that everything that matters does.

Not at all the "lesson" they'd intended.

Maybe I will go downtown after all.

The Vent

#433
19 April 2005

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