Did society “fail” the Boston bombers, or did the Boston bombers fail society?
Enough has already been published, said, tweeted, updated or videoed about the Boston Marathon bombing and subsequent events to cause a peak in energy consumption or a newsprint shortage if it had happened a few decades ago.
I am not going to add to it directly, but a comment by a colleague at a social function this week got me thinking.
He was expressing compassion for the victims and all those affected by the bombing and believed that we should also show compassion for the bombers because “society had failed them.”
I disagree, compassion yes, failure no. If any group failed them, it was the Islamists, Jihadists, fundamental or otherwise who recruited and subverted them. Of course they would see the event as a success not a failure.
It is the sign of a good and caring person to show compassion for a murderer as well as his victims, but to blame a violent act of terrorism on society’s failure ignores the fact that people are responsible for the consequences of their actions.
Millions of people come to North America and other developed countries to escape poverty, misery, oppression and brutality in their homelands. The vast majority come because of the better conditions and opportunities, not to replicate the appalling conditions they have fled. Most are law-abiding, hard-working people eternally grateful for a chance at a better life. Some take advantage of loopholes in our welfare system to get a free ride, a small minority become criminals. An even smaller group become terrorists with the intention of furthering their religious or political causes.
I am also a recent immigrant and I have a personal axe to grind in that through both direct hostile action and deliberate inaction, the Western powers forced a terrorist government on my peaceful, economically successful country, Rhodesia. The murder of my father, crippling injuries to my mother and later, illegal theft of my farm are all results of that interference.
To add insult to injury, the same countries pressurised my new country, South Africa, to surrender to another brutal, corrupt, terrorist organisation, the ANC. The disaster in that country is still unfolding.
Despite all that, I am grateful for the safety and opportunities to rebuild my life in Canada. I have chosen to live here and must abide by the laws and customs. I have chosen to fight against policies I dislike and call for change by becoming a citizen, using my privilege of voting for a political party with policies I can support. (a difficult task)
I have those options, if my dislike of the country becomes intolerable, I am free to leave.
Like most reasonable people, I will not manufacture bombs out of pressure cookers, kill innocent bystanders at sporting events and create mayhem in a society that has offered me refuge from a far worse place.
No, I do not believe our society failed the Boston Bombers or any other home-grown terrorists. If any group failed them, it was the fanatics who recruited them. But of course they would see the outcome as a success not a failure. The death of one and capture of the other as justifiable sacrifices in their campaign to return the world to the dark ages.
The two brothers had a choice, if they did not like America, they were free to return to Chechnya, Dagestan or whichever den of Islamic fundamentalism they chose.
It is irritatingly common in our politically correct society to find someone, some group, some event or some external influence to blame for bad behaviour and its consequences.
Bad things do happen to good people, accidents happen. We have a choice, do we accept victim status , use them as an excuse for anti-social, destructive or murderous behaviour? Or do we get on with our lives and use them to demonstrate that we have the resilience to overcome adversity and build better, purposeful lives?
From living most of my life in the third world, I understand why billions of people believe that power is everything, compassion seen as weakness. This is why democracy is having such a difficult time taking root in Africa and elsewhere in societies that have been collections of feudal, tribal chiefdoms for thousands of years.
If the West has failed any immigrants, it has failed them by being too tolerant of attempts to subvert the norms of society to those of the countries from whence they came. “Multiculturalism” is one of the glaring failures, the word itself is an oxymoron.
Just as I must conform to the standards of my new country and abide by its laws, so must every other newcomer from whichever origin. No exceptions, if I or they cannot, then we must leave, not plant bombs in cities.
Ethnic shops and restaurants, areas with a majority of one ethnic origin are one thing. Changing employment rules, tolerating elements of foreign laws, making excuses for the abuse of women and instituting different dress codes for some people something entirely different.
There is a simple solution, conform or leave, no pandering to any immigrant minority groups, settle in Canada and you are Canadian, live permanently in America, American. People can hold on to and celebrate their ethnic, religious or national beliefs. But in any matters that affect other people, laws and established customs, there can be no tolerance for anti-social or worse, behaviour.
That is why I cannot accept that society failed the Boston bombers, the blame lies elsewhere.
What do you think? Leave a comment.
Wishing you success.
Image courtesy of Idea Go / FreeDigitalPhotos.net