Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Terror Victims: a Cop and a Little Boy

Saying goodbye to MIT officer Sean Collier today in Massachusettes.

MIT and the city of Boston said goodbye to Officer Sean Collier today. In addition to the hundreds  injured and maimed, Collier is believed to be the fourth person killed by the two Islamic extremist brothers on their rampage last week. He was 26 years old.

The youngest victim, Martin Richard, eight years old, was buried on Tuesday, April 23, 2013. Nothing anyone has said so far has made this comprehensible to me.

Collier has the distinction, at least, of being the only one of these victims killed in the line of duty. The two religious thugs wanted his gun and shot him in the head (and a lot of other places) to get it.

But what was the youngest victim doing for which he deserved to die? He was watching the Boston Marathon.  Martin Richard's mother suffered a brain injury in the blast. His six year old sister lost a leg. The father in the Richard family has a difficult road to travel in the years ahead.

Did these two immigrants from a violent part of the world have a cause more important that an eight-year-old boy's life? Than a six-year-old girl's leg? Than a twenty-six-year-old police officer's future?

In America, so many of us are trying hard not to judge these two terrorists based on their religious beliefs. Yet I must say this: it was for the cause of that same religion that four airplanes were hijacked on September 11, 2001,  killing 2996 civilians who just happened to be walking around that day, and injuring 6294. The victims came from 90 nations.

It was for the cause of that same religion that 191 people died and 1800 injured in the 2004 bombings in Madrid, Spain. It was for the cause of that same religion that 52 people were killed and 700 people injured in London in 2005. It was for the cause of that same religion that two American diplomatic institutions were bombed in Kenya in 1998, killing more than 200 people and wounding more than 4000. In those last two bombings, most of the victims were Africans living in the poorest conditions in the world.

The Quakers believe that we should have pity on those who do evil, because in so doing they damage their own souls. It is the most Christian view a person can take of these terrible attacks.

But as a political entity, as a nation, we cannot afford to be so generous. If there is a group of people out there who want us all dead and maimed, who want the surviving females to be veiled and discriminated against, who want this nation run by religious dictators who will tell us all to whom we must pray--and who will kill to achieve this--then we have a formidable enemy that must not be appeased.

It is well past time to stop being naive.

Without violating the principals that have made us great, we are going to have to make some judgements. About right and wrong and good and bad and who in the world are really worthy of our friendship. And who in the world are not.

And most especially, about who gets to take part in the American dream.

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