Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Outrage of the Day: Compassion & Terrorism

Over at The Daily Beast, Lloyd Grove has an excellent blog post "The Terrorist Who Won't Die." If you want to be outraged, read it. What occurred in Scotland last August, with the release of infamous Lockerbie terrorist and mass murderer, Abdelbeset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi, defines definition. It was a heinous example of self indulgent government and an inherent contempt for justice. The werewolf distinctly recalls watching the convoy transport al Megrahi from his prison to the airport on cable news last fall, and hoping that a strategic RPG strike would take him out(not hurting the convoy personnel). Wishful thinking.

I recall being so outraged that a colleague and I discussed boycotting all things Scottish; including Scotch, tartan patterns, Walker's shortbread cookies, among other products. I was surprised that a boycott wasn't formally considered by some, given that the United States is Scotland's largest export market, accounting for £3.6b in export revenues according to a Scottish government survey. However, what was more chronically disappointing was the lack of internal outrage from the devolved Scottish Parliament or from the eternally frumpy Prime Minister Gordon Brown. You know something is terribly amiss when the only voice of reason is New York's infinitely irritating Senator, Chuck Schumer.

How does one integrate justice and compassion in an instance like this? I would think that the comfortable and permanent prison sentence al Megrahi received would by its very nature be considered an act of compassion. No death penalty, a two room prison cell with a television, three square meals a day, and health care all paid for compliments of the British taxpayer. Frankly, dousing him with aviation fuel and setting him ablaze in a parking lot meets the werewolf's sense of justice and compassion.

We also need to understand that terrorism is a special crime where compassion never has a place. Terrorists prey on the most vulnerable elements of society, innocent civilians. The intent is to use fear to erode a society's sense of self from the inside-out. The very essence of terrorism is void of all humanity, decency, and justice. Forgetting that is a crime unto itself.

What happened to the compassion and justice for the victims and their families? 270 murdered, plus the thousands of family members left behind. Aren't they the ones whose sensibilities ought to be privy to special considerations? Justice isn't meant to assuage the pain of these victims, but they are the ones who merit any special considerations on compassionate grounds. As mentioned earlier, the outrage around this knows no bounds. It was compassion to allow al Megrahi to succumb to cancer while in custody. The fact that he was in custody was a sign that justice, while marginal in its execution during this instance, was still present in al Megrahi's fate.

The fact that al Megrahi received the ultimate pardon, for reasons that are highly suspicious, and is thriving in his homeland, an incubator of terror, outliving his prognosis, is more than a crime. It is a defiling of compassion and the most violent rape of justice one could imagine. Outrage is an understatement.

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