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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

What Happens When Superman Loses His Invulnerability

The recent attacks on the police and the terrorist attacks that have been happening in the West have a common thread: they show what happens when those with power and/or privilege become vulnerable. 

The attacks themselves are atrocities. The attacks on the police as well as the terrorist attacks on civilians, such as the one that occurred in Nice, show a brutal barbarism. Neither can be condemned strongly enough.  But to focus on those attacks without asking about what preceded them is an obscenity. 

We know from the bare statistics how Blacks have been targeted by some of our law enforcement officers. Sometimes that targeting consists merely of racial profiling. But at other times, that targeting has resulted in the unnecessary, and thus criminal, killing of Blacks.

We also know that what originally triggered the terrorist attacks has been Western foreign polices. However, many of us don't consider those policies as contributing to the increasing number of terrorist attacks in the world because of delusions of national innocence. That belief says that my own nation has never done anything that bad and thus have done nothing that has merited terrorist reprisals. And to a large extent, that is true. But almost all western nations have done much to merit a great deal of anger from those from the Middle East and their sympathizers. And when that anger cannot be resolved using peaceful means, violence eventually erupts.

What we see from the terrorists now are those who, as investigative journalist Jason Burke has observed, have come to share too many ideological beliefs with the terrorist groups we are at war with become the biggest threat. They have become stealth threats because they work as individuals and they often leave no trail of breadcrumbs which would allow the government to connect them with a recognized terrorist group. 

As for the slaughter of some of our law enforcement officers, we should know that neither the Dallas nor the Baton Rouge shootings were performed by activists from any recognized groups. Rather both shootings were performed by veterans who were fed up with the injustices they saw others from their group experience.

Do we think that if Superman was no longer invulnerable that he would fly around fighting crime in the same way as he did before? Perhaps those with wealth and power should consider that question just for selfish, practical reasons. But if we wanted to look at our current situation of having the police attacked or terrorist attacks being forced on people from a moral perspective, we would not care about whether Superman was invulnerable. Yes, the attacks on our police and the terrorist attacks on civilians are horrible atrocities that must be addressed and those responsible must be held accountable. But so also must the injustices that preceded these attacks and that is how one would approach the terrorism from a moral perspective.



 

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