When are we, as a civilized society finally going to say enough is enough — and really mean it?
I wonder this as I look at images Tuesday morning of the horrific Islamic terrorist attack Monday night in Manchester, England, where a cowardly, vile monster murdered more than 20 people and injured nearly 60 when he set off a bomb attached to his person at the end of a Ariana Grande pop music concert.
Most of those killed and injured where children.
We can rightfully seethe and curse this abomination all day, but is there anything we can do, either as individuals or our leaders, to actually put a stop to this nightmare facing innocent people throughout the world?
What happened at the packed concert hall on the other side of the Atlantic could just as easily have happened right here in central Ohio. That terrifies me.
I got chills Monday night after talking to my son earlier in the day, who had just attended a three-day rock festival at Mapfre Stadium in Columbus. He was so excited to tell me about seeing his favorite band, Metallica, perform at the packed arena of more than 100,000 people Sunday night. Now I think … it could have happened there. I think about a major marathon run for charity that happened Saturday morning in downtown Columbus. It could have happened there. And I even thought about the Madison County high school graduation ceremony I covered for The Press Sunday. I think, it even could have happened there.
Already, world leaders have condemned the horrible terrorist attack, for which the Islamic terrorist group ISIS has quickly taken responsibility. The bomber has been identified as Salmon Abedi, 22, and news reports Tuesday morning said Islamic State supporters took to social media to celebrate the blast and some encouraged similar attacks elsewhere.
Now consider, these were mostly children murdered, as young as eight years old. The lives of innocent children destroyed in an instant. Many more badly injured and likely scarred for life by this deadly shrapnel explosion. Imagine anyone sane, anyone with an ounce of humanity celebrating this attack or even taking credit for it.
Tuesday morning, there was plenty of talk on cable news and social media about how we could ever stop such lone attacks from someone determined to murder innocent people at the cost of their own lives. Much of what I’ve heard has just been talk.
What infuriates me most is that there is not enough pressure to hold the Muslim community and their leaders both across the world and in the United States more accountable for these barbaric attacks.
Here is what I mean: While I haven’t seen it yet, I can about guarantee you that on Tuesday, in cities across the country, some Muslim organization will have called a press conference and some Islamic spokesperson will stand up and give a tepid condemnation of the attack.
The spokesperson will then say something like: “This attack is not us. It does not represent us. It is not who we are.” Now, a brave reporter at this press conference might boldly say, “Almost 90 percent of the terrorist attacks around the world are committed by Islamist extremists. Kinda sounds to me like it does represent you.” Now, that may seem a bit harsh and unfair. But before you think that, consider the faces of those young children murdered Monday night.
To me, stopping this evil starts with the Islamic leaders themselves.
I know “the usual” Muslim representatives will issue statements of condemnation, and a lot of other blah blah blah.
But I will withhold my respect today for these Muslim leaders until they actually go beyond tepid words.
I will respect them when I see them say: “This and other barbaric attacks will not be tolerated. Here are the names of the extremists who hide behind our religion for their own evil deeds. Here are the addresses where they live. Here are the imams and the locations of the mosques where they are teaching hatred and radicalizing these young men. Go get ‘em!”
This may not stop the terrorism, but it is a start in ensuring that these monsters have fewer and fewer places in which to hide.
Until I see them stand up and point fingers, naming names and calling out the extremists one by one, I will have no respect for them or their community. We need to increase this pressure on Islamic leaders and show we really mean it when we say “enough is enough.” For example we need to call the Palestinian Authority the terrorists they are and stop giving them any “humanitarian” aid while they, themselves, fund and glorify these monsters.
Today, we in London, Madison County, Ohio, our nation and the world feel less safe as the death toll mounts in ever-increasing unlikely places such as an arena filled with young children in Manchester, England.
We cannot — should not — continue to live in fear.
Reach General Manager/Editor Gary Brock at 937-556-5759.