As horrific as the coordinated attacks were at hotels and churches in Sri Lanka yesterday, we were spared from even greater carnage than originally planned.
The death toll has risen to 290. Authorities are still discovering more bodies. Terrorists targeted historic houses of worship and upscale hotels, in a campaign of fear and destruction. Images and video of bombs going off during Easter services presented a stark juxtaposition of love and hate. Crowded breakfast buffets were targetted at hotels like the Shangri-La, maiming guests simply eating their breakfast and workers serving them.
But it could have been worse.
An improvised pipe bomb was found on the road leading to Bandaranaike International Airport. Upon its discovery, a team from the Sri Lankan Air Force was successfully able to dismantle it. Imagine if bombs had gone off inside the airport. Imagine another string of roadside bombs had gone off, doubling the death toll.
The revelation that it could have been far worse is not anything to celebrate. But it is something to be thankful for.
I’ve been to Colombo with my wife. I’ve been to Colombo with Lucky from One Mile at a Time. I’ve walked by hotels that were targetted yesterday. It is truly sobering; a sad reminder of how fragile life is.
Now’s not the time to speculate whether it is safe to travel to Sri Lanka. From over 9,000 miles away, all I can do is join with people of good conscience in condemning these attacks and offering my thoughts and prayers for the victims and for the nation.
Let’s hope that the terrorists are not given the satisfaction of instilling long-term fear into citizens, residents, and visitors of what is a remarkable country.
image: John Taggart / Wikimedia Commons