James Barraford I, too, along with many people I know, am in complete agreement with your dismay at our cry for an Execution, Off With His Head And Let’s Be Done With It demeanor. Yes, 9/11 was the tidal turn for that attitude. I watched it from New York, where we New Yorkers for the most part were not for the Shock and Awe that much of the rest of the country was for. It happened in our City and we were not crying for blood. Perhaps that is because in New York City we live with an extraordinary degree of peace and civility among all mixed together races and religions and creeds and peoples, from all over the world, and it is difficult under those circumstances to turn – after morning Yoga class next to a Muslim – and denounce all Muslims. It is difficult to walk down the street and feel superior to any one “kind” of person, to judge and denounce any one “kind” of person. It is a place of almost magical tolerance given the close proximity and wild differences between inhabitants.
Perhaps that is because we know how precious peace is and how hard to come by understanding is, and that once one lights a torce to those things, they can be very difficult, if not impossible, to get back. New York has seen its days of rioting and hatred and it isn’t pretty.
My suspicion, James Barraford, having gone through 9/11 and watched the Boston Marathon nightmare on television like so many other people, is that we have made it impossible for anyone to speak out and say, “Let’s not become the problem. Let’s not hate haters. Let’s not kill killers. Let’s be the civilized country with laws that some want to see destroyed.” Because those who say these things, who believe this way, are often now accused of being anti-patriots, of being passive, of not caring about our Mother Country. Those who believe in gun-control are called stupid and naive. Those who are against the death penalty are called wusses.
So people say and do things in order to fit in and to avoid having fingers pointed at them. I think it is extremely difficult in this particular case to show anything that could be interpreted as empathy toward this disturbed and misguided young man. God forbid anyone wants to know what happened in his life to get him to this point.
The crowd, gathered as they were at the one week memorial was awe-inspiring and of a mind and weeping together.
But sometimes the crowd can also be very dangerous…and know not what it encourages.
Okay…now everyone can skewer me. I’m ready…
Thank you, Jamie.