December 6, 2019-
When one has an adult child serving in the military, there is a particular degree of attention paid to the circumstances surrounding that child’s safety and well-being, day to day. My son entered the United States Navy in July, 2011. He will finish his regular active duty, in January, 2020. Then he will serve in the Naval Reserves, for several more years. I will keep watch on his environment, throughout.
As his final weeks on active duty ensue, three attacks have been committed, on U.S. military property, within days of each other. One, at Fort Story, VA, was an act of vehicular homicide. The second, at Pearl Harbor, only days before the 78th Anniversary of the infamous attacks there, by the forces of Imperial Japan, was committed by someone who apparently snapped, after a disciplinary notice was issued him. The third, which may also have been committed by someone who snapped, happened today, at Naval Air Station, Pensacola. ended with four dead.
There is some speculation of terror ties, in the first and third incidents, but not-as yet- in the second. There can be, simply put, no quarter given to any terrorist, regardless of ideology. The whole subject of the origins of terrorism can fill several volumes. It basically boils down to sustained inhumanity of one group against another, leading to ongoing acts of retaliation and revenge.
Yet, revenge just leads to more chaos, and the cycle goes on. I read this morning of the summary executions of four men suspected of raping a female veterinarian and burning her corpse, near Hyderabad, India. There is no less sympathetic criminal than a rapist. I can understand the rage of the men who captured these four. If anyone ever sexually assaulted, much less killed, any of the many women who are close to my heart, my emotions would boil over, privately. I would then have to leave the punishment to the authorities, expecting them to fulfill their duties. In the event they didn’t, I would, following the law, be a broken record, until justice was served.
Vengeance, though, is not my way. On the rare occasions when the woman I met 39 years ago today, later married, and then laid to rest, after nearly 29 years of wedlock, was taunted or sexually harassed, I stood up to those who exhibited their animal instincts but never once did I feel the need to beat someone down. This was fortunate, as I am perfectly capable of flying into a rage. It just has become less of a potentially useful method of dealing with such matters. Our society, many parts of which dabble in false equivalency, might too easily fall for sad origin stories of rapists or other sexual predators. In the ensuing judicial chaos, no justice is served.
I maintain that, in each case of assault on peaceful, law-abiding citizens, regardless of the assailant’s motive, there needs to be a doubling-down on adherence to the sanctity of human life and safety. Those who commit acts of terrorism, including sexual terrorism, must face justice, in its fullness- without mindless vengeance.