Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The civilized world must unite to mourn and to battle terror

Even a world relatively inured to the brutality of terrorists has to be shocked, sickened and, yes, enraged by the latest atrocity on innocents. Two loud explosions at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, killed at least 19 people, including many children, and injured dozens. Police are treating the episode as a terrorist attack.
Assuming that educated suspicion stands, it is impossible for any decent human being to make sense of the motives of any so-called human being who would commit such an act. It is, however, possible to attempt to describe those motives. Ariana Grande is a pop star immensely popular with preteen and teenage girls. She rose to fame as a star on Nickelodeon. She has sung on Christmas albums, “Hunger Games” soundtracks and Disney albums.
All of which is to say: Whomever set off explosive devices at this crowded concert set out to scream savagery. To maim and murder young women out for an evening of sweet abandon. To psychologically scar thousands of girls. To terrorize mothers and fathers across the world who want to and need to think that some places, of course some places, are safe for their daughters and sons.
To turn pop music, a simple and universal expression of joy in our deeply divided and politicized culture, and corrupt it with the reality and the projection of violence.
The purpose of terrorism is to force fear to burrow inside the minds of people throughout the free world. To create a perpetual state of war. It is trite at such moments to say that we, the victims, must not let them, the terrorists, win — meaning that the concerts, the dancing, the gathering in large crowds must go on.
That is true, but insufficient.
The civilized world must unite in mourning the victims. It will be an anguishing process. We must do so with respect. That will take time. And then, we must unite — as we have many times before — to battle, on every front, those who speak only through death and blood. With stronger law enforcement. With hardened targets. With bold and focused military action. With an appeal to the better angels of those who might have otherwise sympathized with the monsters, by forcing them to see, with eyes wide open, the pure evil that they do.

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