Co-opting Tragedy

Jewish Light Editorial

Many people in Paris are dead at the hands of inhuman terrorists.

Let’s get some things straight.

This is not the same as the events at Mizzou.

This is not the same as Yale Halloween costumes.

This is not the same as debating who’s responsible for the ills of our modern world.


This is people dead at the hands of inhuman terrorists.

These people serve as agents for those who would destroy civilized society. Yes, they act in name of Islam but they do not represent all Muslims in any way, shape or form. More Muslims die at the hands of Islamist terrorists than do anyone else.

They don’t care who they kill. They represent hatred and anarchy and destruction.

They are evil incarnate.

People say we must try to understand them to defeat them. Maybe that’s true. But it’s not necessary to understand them to know that we must defeat them.

They have given a choice. Us or them. It is not hyperbole, or supposition, or conjecture. They’ve as much as said it.

Nobody gets to grab this atrocity for their cause. Selfish people who complain that their cause has been relegated to the back pages because of this. Ignorant people who don’t understand the difference between this and everything else.

Yes, the United States has imperfections, serious ones. We deal with them. Those who say we don’t try are deliberately misstating the truth. We pass laws to eradicate injustice. We spend money to enforce those laws. We collectively aspire, with fits and starts, to make our society better.

Sometimes we get it very right, and sometimes we fall very far short.

But that has absolutely nothing to do with what happened in Paris.

In America, we debate and discuss and we exert political pressure. Through money and through lobbying and through direct action like civil disobedience. We collectively work to make us better.

Terrorists don’t. They make nothing better.

They don’t believe in free speech. They don’t believe in free assembly. They don’t believe in freedom of religion, or any freedom at all.

They don’t care about laws against rape or violence. They rape and violate men, women and children.

They don’t care about discrimination. They act however they want, whenever they want, with impunity and with an utter disregard for anyone but themselves.

They are the ultimate anti-intellectuals. They don’t care about ideas, or talking through ideas, or considering other ideas. They hate you because you don’t agree with them, don’t become one of them. It’s that simple.

If you’re one of them you can kill alongside them, you can murder, you can destroy history, you can act in ways that no version of God ever said or intended.

They violate the Ten Commandments with each and every action they take. Because they have bastardized religion to make it in their heinous image.

Those who think this is about the Palestinian cause are absolutely nuts. This is no political protest. This is no human rights protest. This is about the most repugnant form of bullying and nothing else.

Bullying. Getting weapons, having a physical advantage, and eviscerating anyone who stands in their way.

It’s loathsome, disgusting and morally incomprehensible. It has nothing to do with creating a more civilized society and everything to do with destroying all civilized societies.

There is nothing we experience in today’s world that is more clearly definitive of right and wrong.

Those of us who strive to make the world better every day, by raising our families, being productive citizens, helping our communities, are right. We are often quite flawed, of course, but we are right.

These terrorists are wrong. Even if there’s explanation for their acts, there is no excuse, there is no rationale that comports with the goals of improving our lives and our world.

Some people like to say the world is not black and white, but full of grays.

That may be true, but ultimately, sometime, somehow, to be part of the solution, you must acknowledge that there are lines that cannot be crossed.

You can blame politicians, or blame your country, or blame whomever, but ultimately, you must acknowledge that people are responsible for their own conduct. That brainwashing, or group consciousness, or whatever, is simply not enough to excuse this level of barbarism.

You can have compassion for their souls. You can pray for them. You can even ask God for an explanation.

But in the end, you cannot choose to simply let them roam freely among us. For if you do, there will be no “us” left.