The photograph of a drowned threeyear-old Alan Kurdi, his body found washed up on a Turkish beach, motivated thousands of people to take action over the plight of Syrian refugees.
The news flowing from Manchester, England, will likely motivate just as many, if not more.
Not in the same way, but for the exact same reason.
The outcome may be equally dramatic; it could be a turning point that no one expected.
Monday night, in what appears to be a terrorist attack, a single suicide bomber blew himself up outside an Ariana Grande concert, just as scores of young fans were leaving the venue. Reports from the scene indicate the explosive weapon may have been a nail bomb, designed to injure and maim as many people as possible.
At this point, at least 22 innocent victims have died, and more than 100 were injured.
Many of the dead are children, and both the mainstream media and social media are rapidly filling with photos of the dead and the missing.
In some ways, this attack is following the immediate response to other attacks: a great swell of information about the victims, often followed by analysis — informed or otherwise — about the attacker or attackers.
That’s usually followed by a gradually subsidence; the faces of the victims fade from public view, and life returns to normal for those who have not been directly affected. Life goes on.
That very likely won’t be the case this time. Certain things tend to get seared into memory, and anyone with children or who spends time with children and young adults, will have a hard time looking at their smiling charges and not imagining the type of evil it would take to deliberately single out and attack a single child, let alone an event filled with children.
At this point, ISIS has taken credit for the attack. That is not unusual — ISIS has a record now of taking credit for any attack that appears to have a hint of radical involvement.
But whether the attacker turns out to be part of an ISIS-led terrorist cell that deliberately chose this attack, a lone-wolf loose adherent to the ISIS cause, or even a deranged solo attacker, the result could be to harden the resolve of those who feel violence is the answer. It could also cause a significant portion of those who would rather find a nonviolent solution to religious conflict to either sit on their hands or back away from the debate.
When children are targets, especially deliberate targets, the reaction is both visceral and personal. And it doesn’t involve pleas for understanding.
If the goal was to broaden the divide, it may well be successful. We may hear much about sowing the wind, and reaping the whirlwind.