To fight the so-called war on terror, the country gave up a degree of privacy and freedom in exchange for safety and security, some of it illusory. What happened at the Boston Marathon will doubtless inspire more restrictions. There will be a brief moment of rallying, during which New York Yankees fans will sing "Sweet Caroline." But the old, depressing politics of terror will ultimately break out again and continue to divide the country along ideological lines -- unless today's generation does something to stop it.
The violence that broke out in Newtown, Aurora, and Tucson also inspired individual acts of courage and heroism. The teachers who put their bodies between the shooter and the tiny students of Sandy Hook exemplify that spirit of sacrifice. But so far, the pleas by parents of the children killed in that rampage by a young man with a semi-automatic rifle have not been enough to inspire a major overhaul of gun legislation.
Perhaps it's time for the generation that inherited this world of fear and violence to do something about changing it.