An act of ugly hatred revealed good instead
The attacks on spectators at the Boston Marathon produced results so devastating as to enrage the conscience of all moral people.
Those who set out to kill and maim as many people as possible - at an elementary school, in office buildings, in a theater, at sports events - seek the world's attention and receive it.
But those who watched television last week were able to see especially clearly the failure of this selfish and cowardly choice.
Acts of selfishness, cowardice and ill will were overshadowed, in full view of the world, by acts of selflessness, bravery and generosity of spirit.
Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick put it very well, noting "the grace this tragedy exposed."
Terrorism failed to terrorize. It had instead the effect of putting goodness in the spotlight.
In the worldwide war for hearts and minds, that's no contest.
And it wasn't just in Boston, dealing with the effects of intended harm, that everyday good will received the attention it deserves and so often does not receive.
In West, Texas, a small town of a few thousand people faced a tragedy of almost unimaginable proportions and came out shining.
The medical director of the county, a physician, worked tirelessly despite the injuries he received when a tank full of anhydrous ammonia exploded, destroying a nursing home and leveling a large section of the town.
Volunteer firemen and medical first responders had walked straight into hell to protect others. Many paid with their lives.
As in Boston, the ordinary people of West worked shoulder to shoulder with city, county, state and federal officials to get the injured to treatment.
The sheer competence of so many people was a sight to behold.
The cause of the Texas explosion has not been determined, but the effect of the horror was the same as in Boston.
In both places, the selflessness of people took the breath away. So many to admire. So much to emulate.
In a world that comes fully equipped with unintended tragedy, evil can't compete, and never will.