The troubles went on in Northern Ireland for thirty years or so, with one side trying to unite Ireland and the other trying to keep Protestant Northern Ireland as a part of England.
Bombings and shootings were common. Most notably were the assassinations, or more precisely, the murders of Ross McWhirter, co-founder of The Guinness Book of World Records, and Lord Mountbatten, who was nearly 80 when a bomb planted on his boat exploded.
Terrorism works, killing civilians and blowing things up, disrupting the normal with bloodshed, and tying your opponent down with hit-and-run killings and destruction, is a time-honored and proven method of bringing power to the table to talk.
Personally, I think attacking civilian targets in general, and the elderly in particular, is cowardly and destroys any moral authority a cause might have, but it does work. It did bring about change in a system that had been in place for quite some time.
When a bomb exploded in Nashville Tennessee on Christmas Day, I waited. I waited for a message from some fringe group, some lone wolf terrorist, somebody out there who was about to open Pandora’s Box in America, a country founded on fighting the same empire the IRA waged war against many years ago.
The idea that it might have been a suicide bomber never occurred to me. My mind had skipped off down the road of worse cases, and in my mind, trust me when I say, worst cases are exactly that. I saw an America torn apart, a police state where everyone was a suspect, cameras everywhere, drones patrolling sports events, people mistrustful, hate building between one faction and another with every attack, reprisals between groups, roadblocks manned by soldiers, and the blood of those whose capability, and willingness, to wage war upon their fellow citizens would be nonexistent, yet spilled nevertheless.
Nashville would be the beginning, and perhaps the epicenter, and it would join a long list of cities like London, Saigon, Beirut, and a thousand others in human history where bombs spoke louder than any other voice.
Yet we are not there, not yet, and we should listen now, to voices other than bombs, for now, we realize we still have time, and we still have peace, such that it may be in this country, and it is not too late, at this moment.
We can still set aside our differences, we can still speak without fear and grief, we can still come together as one people, if not with one ideal for this nation, then with one voice against what will happen if we do not. We can show America to be that place, that dream, that can avoid what others could not, to see past the vision of destruction, and rebuild before there is a fall.
The sound of an explosion woke many people in Nashville, a city of music and of talent and of song. Perhaps, we should hear now, and perhaps that sound is a clarion call, not of hate and of violence, but a call to action, a call for patriots not to arm themselves, but to sit together and see, eye to eye, with those with whom they disagree, yet still see America.