British Train Bombing

Democracy Now posted an article (London Subway and Bus Explosions Kill 37, Injure 700, dated Thursday, July 7th, 2005) including interviews with some of the passengers from the London trains that were bombed. One passenger, Angelo Power, said:

ANGELO POWER: The others I saw, physical injuries, some had marks to the face. The carriage windows had punctured their skin. Others were physically lying on the floor, because they basically suffered smoke inhalation. Others in the main carriage, as I understand, are severely injured, if not dead. So, but at the end of the day, I honestly thought I was going to die. Im just grateful to be alive.
REPORTER: It is looking increasingly as though this was a concerted terror attack. What do you think about the people behind this, having lived through this nightmare yourself today?
ANGELO POWER: Well, as a barrister, all I can say is, you know, I wait for the evidence before I can make any or jump to any conclusions as to who it may be. But all I can say is, you know, whoevers responsible for it, I take pity on them.
REPORTER: Pity?
ANGELO POWER: Yeah, pity, because whoever has perpetrated such a wicked act, you know, needs pity, right?

Thank you, Mr. Power, for an expression of what the political rhetoric of the “War on Terror” is missing. In pity for the person who did a “wicked act,” there is the thread we have lost, the sense of our common humanity.
We will never have enough money or enough people to guard everything all the time, so we can never create a society in which 1) people are free to make choices about their own lives and 2) such acts as the London bombing are impossible.
And we can’t get rid of dissidents by shooting them.
If we lined all the terrorists up and shot them this afternoon, tomorrow their friends, families, and students — those who knew them and shared their world view — would all be terrorists.
If we shot everyone who was not a Christian today, the Christians would have a war among themselves tomorrow.
If we shot everyone who was not a Muslim, — oh, wait. Muslims are already fighting themselves. And most of the world is helping one side or the other or both.
If we can dredge up some sense of our common humanity that doesn’t require everyone to be exactly like us, maybe there is a hope of creating a world in which bombs don’t explode on trains because nobody feels it is acceptable to blow up trains full of people.
We could start by trying to get hold of what Angelo Power knows — people who commit such acts disserve pity. They are people driven by the political and religious delusions of a war that will not end until all of the infidels are buried. Could we work on our delusions a little here and quit exchanging bombs for a few days?

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