While many people are waking to a traditional Christmas morning of gift-giving, holiday cheer, and having a rare, stress-free 2020 day, a new tradition may be exploding across the United States. Unfortunately, that new tradition does not involve reindeer, Santa, or peace. Instead, our new tradition, the tradition of others such as Iraq, Afghanistan, and other violent societies, is the car bomb, also known as the VBIED, or vehicle-borne improvised explosive device. A device that the Nashville bombing has brought to our Christmas season.
For those who may not be aware, the Associated Press reports:
“An explosion shook the largely deserted streets of downtown Nashville early Christmas morning, shattering windows, damaging buildings and wounding three people. Authorities said they believed the blast was intentional. The FBI is leading the investigation.
Metro Nashville Police Department spokesman Don Aaron said police responded to a call of shots fired just before 6 a.m. but found no immediate signs of a shooting, although officers noticed a suspicious vehicle and called for a hazardous unit. While they waited, the vehicle exploded.”
And with that, today’s 2020 Christmas morning VBIED bombing in Nashville may be the start of what many veterans of our conflicts overseas have worried about for years. That worry is the concern that terrorist tactics used in warzones around the globe may make their way to the United States. After all, while the U.S. has experienced bombings in the past, we have not experienced bombings on a frequent and ongoing basis.
Despite what the twenty-four-hour news cycle would like us to believe, living in the United States is relatively peaceful. Yes, we have occasional riots and acts of terror. However, as a rule, we are not fearful of being vaporized by a Nashville bombing style of explosive fireball when we go about our day.
The thought that a trip to the supermarket, a visit to the dentist, or our commute to work may end in a flash of fire and shrapnel is foreign and not something most people consider. Sadly, with the increasing divide between political parties, social classes, and anyone with an ax to grind, we may be on a collision course with a destiny of daily death and fear.
The disturbing reality is that today’s Nashville bombing in Tenessee, moves us closer to the most unimaginable reality of others. The reality that we may be facing here in the U.S. is not new. Instead, it’s a common experience that many in places like Northern Ireland during the troubles, Iraq during the surge, and Syria during the fight with ISIS have experienced and lived with.
Ours is the truth of division fanned by our elected representatives, mainstream media, tech giants, and idiots who share clickbait headlines without care for the content’s integrity. Our truth is one of increasing anger and rage. Ours is a truth that while we live in incredible and prosperous times, has us divided like no other. In the end, our reality is one that, unless a course correction happens soon, may lead to the violence and fear that the U.S. has largely been sheltered from.
Another truth is that, in opposition to other times, we (the royal we) don’t have a strong notion as to who is responsible for this bombing. In years past, we’d all automatically assume a Christmas bombing would be the work of Muslim terrorists. However, in the United States of 2020, it’s just as believable that groups and solo actors from any number of left-wing and right-wing organizations may be responsible.
Next, while we can all speculate on who is responsible for the bombing, one result of the bombing is almost guaranteed. That certainty is that those in power and a quest for more power will not let this crisis go to waste. This bombing, at a minimum, will lead to the media of both sides trashing the other. It may also be just the impetus that those in power need to further erode our rights as U.S. citizens as they did with the vile Patriot Act.
So, what does the explosion in Nashville mean for the average American? It means that the game has changed. The Nashville Christmas bombing is serving notice to everyone that we are not living in the America of pre-9/11. Instead, we now live, work, and raise families in a divided and increasingly unstable and violent nation.
The Nashville bombing is a Christmas reminder to everyone that we must not take our safety and security for granted. It’s a reminder that the venomous rhetoric from all sides of the political and social spectrum has consequences for us as individuals and for us as a nation.
Today’s Christmas Nashville bombing is also a reminder that life is precious, there are no guarantees, and that we all need to make an effort to treasure what is truly important. Today’s bombing emphasizes the need that we all need to cherish our family, friends, loved ones, and the small moments we often take for granted.
Finally, today’s Nashville Christmas bombing dictates that we all must follow a new tradition. Our new tradition is one that requires we approach our daily lives with deliberate intent. Those who embrace the practice of deliberate intent are those most likely to enjoy Christmas in 2021 and beyond. Those who don’t may mark Christmas 2020 as their last Christmas on this planet.