Yesterday, I was traveling through the Charlotte, NC airport where I witnessed a distressing little exchange while buying a newspaper. A man and his 7 or 8-year old son were at the newsstand apparently considering their options on M&Ms. Newspapers were displayed underneath the candies and the kid looked down at them. Most featured on their front pages a photo of one the Pakistani school kids murdered by the Taliban (see below).
I had come in a bit after the conversation had started but I heard the little boy ask his father "Is that his son in a box? I don't see the box." The dad - sadly and uncomfortably - replied, "Yes. Sometimes bad people do bad things. (Pause) That's why we call them bad."
The kid leaned closer to the newspaper and started tracing the outline of the photo with his finger in the air and said with something like sad puzzlement, "Oh, I see the box now." From my point of view, the kid seemed as though he was trying to imagine what it would be like for him to be the boy in the box. The dad clearly felt at a loss and had no good explanation why the Pakistani boy - someone's son - was dead in a box. There is no good explanation for such an atrocity.