A mere five days after sophisticated homemade bombs blasted innocent Americans in Boston, I joined nearly a thousand elementary-aged children and their parents at Washington State Chess Championship Tournament. My grandson had qualified. We all entered a cavernous building—the ones used for summertime countywide fairs. One room held rows upon rows of tables with hundreds of chessboards from beginning to end. The other room held more tables and chairs for waiting parents throughout the daylong event.
As hundreds of kids and parents milled about, I wondered about our safety. Even in the aftermath of Boston’s horror, no police or surveillance cameras could be seen. Everywhere I looked there were tables and chairs with bags and belongings. Several hundred backpacks, filled with sack lunches and snacks—brain food for bright young minds—were everywhere, but no one in authority seemed to wonder about nails, ball bearings, or explosives that could be detonated by a cell phone.
During the breaks between chess matches, the kids played outdoors with the reckless abandon children can have—making instant friendships with a football or softball.
As I watched my grandson play outside, I chatted with another grandma. After the pleasantries of asking where we were from and the age of our chess-playing prodigies, we tackled the thornier issue of safety in an ever increasingly dangerous world. We both recalled far safer times. We wondered about the world we would be leaving our grandchildren.
As grandmas are prone to do, we can talk easily about family because that’s where our hearts remain. We encircle our family a bit tighter in the midst of blatant evil. Grandmas have strong hearts and even stronger prayers. Whether the Boston terrorists were jihadist-driven or not, evil is evil and increasingly the targets are the most innocent.
To feel safer, surveillance cameras could watch us, airport-like screening could be enforced everywhere we go, and we could be barricaded behind Kevlar walls, but evil still lurks. Fighting terrorism requires one to think like a terrorist. Not a comforting thought.
As we followed our young chess players back into the unsecured arena, we both knew that our old way of living was over. Boston, Sandy Hook, Colorado, Fort Hood, and 9/11 have changed us. Gatherings like this one will probably mean intensified security in the near future—just to feel safer. Most likely the youngest Americans will grow up feeling they need to sacrifice more freedom so they can feel secure.
Today’s kids have so many technological advantages yet so many diabolical challenges. For most of us grandmas, we wish we could somehow rewind the clock and let everyone see what it used to be like here in America. Sadly, fewer people remember. Therefore, fewer people will know that giving up freedom for security is never a good idea.
What’s beyond Boston? A country that needs lots of people praying for God to bless America and bring its citizens to Himself once again. Like my grandma once told me, “It’s really the only thing that will save us.”