What we are witnessing now in Boston is the aftermath of a terrorist attack and the painstaking search for clues and evidence pointing to whoever was responsible for such a terrible crime.

It goes without saying that every effort must be made to identify the guilty party so that justice can then be meted out in accordance with the laws and customs of the land.

But is this the best result we might obtain or could the entire incident have been prevented even before it occurred?

Unquestionably, this second option would be much preferred if such a thing were ever possible.

In what way could so abhorrent an act be forestalled? Is there some strange alchemy or precognition we could direct against it happening in the first place? Or do we all simply lack the inventiveness and resolve necessary to produce a remedy possessing that amount of arcane power and precision?

In the film ‘Minority Report,’ the premise of the story was that all serious criminality could be foreseen and thus those contemplating anything really bad were taken to task prior to its enactment.

It may be that one day human mental abilities will evolve to this stage and events like those yesterday in Boston can be avoided in their entirety. Until such time, we might all do well to emulate, as best we can, so profoundly useful a procedure.

The idea here is to project some small way into the future and feed back what we might expect to find there. Then, upon receipt of this foreknowledge, certain steps are taken that convert our present timeline into one more acceptable to our collective conscience and self-esteem.

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Would this be another step in the evolution of mankind?

Or must more and more Bostons be all we can expect because fate has decreed it so?

In which case, we will have regressed and not evolved at all.