The audacity of kindness

Because he’s a human being, I want Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab to be treated with kindness and compassion, and one of my gentle readers objects. Yes, Mutallab apparently tried to commit murder, of which I do not approve. It’s just that I don’t think there’s any use whatsoever in punishing him, except to intimidate the rest of us and encourage the goons.

I’m curious about why Mutallab couldn’t think of anything else to do with his life but blow it up, and I think that his real motive would be useful to know before the body scans get to the gas pumps—“No Cash, No Clothes.”

Mutallab must have been trying to send a message, like Lassie used to do in the television show when Timmy would fall down another well—“What is it, Umar? Uncle Sam sucks?” Whatever his message, I’m pretty sure it doesn’t make sense, which is why I want him on YouTube, the only way we even might get at the truth. Experts say, “Be afraid. The system works.” I think that’s irony, or maybe sarcasm.

My sensitive and discerning reader says, “Far from a conservative hawk, I am a progressive conscientious objector and pacifist, but even I cannot rationalize Umar’s egregious behavior considering he is neither impoverished nor uneducated and has no moral justification for his actions.” I’d have to ask Mutallab about that.

I may also be far from a conservative hawk myself, although I can’t be sure. Neither can I rationalize Mutallab’s behavior. Nobody can, because his behavior was not rational. That’s why we should just get him some therapy, generously paid for by Uncle Sam.

Some of the military allegedly try to win over the “hearts and minds” of the people whose countries they’re destroying, a strategy that at least requires little munitions. Now’s the time for the sleazy greedy cowards in the federal government to show a little generosity of spirit, as unfamiliar as it is. Showing some love could win hearts and minds everywhere. Nothing else has ever worked.

I just can’t get past “Love your enemies” and “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” and believe me I’ve tried. No matter what he had done, if Mutallab were my son, I would want him cared for compassionately and to get the help he needs. The guaranteed torture of his confinement will please only sleazy greedy fearmongers and the scaredy cats who support them, and as usual that’s enough. My rational reader says my position ruins our nation’s chance “to demonstrate our universal disgust.” Damn right.

Posted Thursday, January 14th, 2010 under compassion, death, forgiveness, judgment, kindness, love, tolerance, Uncategorized.


  1. Unconditional love is so unpopular. Thanks for holding the space.

  2. I enjoy your articles, but some recent statements leave something to be desired. It is understandable to want kindness and compassion although you did not define what that consists of or means.
    But to be so critical of governmental officials, the military, and our legal system, smacks of “moral entitlement for Mutaliab” while ignoring there was also a corresponding obligation on the part of Mutaliab for “moral and legal responsibility.”
    You seem to want moral as well as legal rights but without an obligation for either moral and legal responsibilities. You can not have it both ways! Moral rights are subjective (and not necessarily enforceable in our legal system) while legal rights are objectively defined (and they are enforceable in our legal system).
    A criminal act was involved and Mutaliab is entitled to his legal rights even though he violated both his legal and moral responsibilites to others. It is ridiculous to justify Mutaliab’s actions as a misguided youth who has not “been laid.”
    Legal rights can not exist unless others have a legal responsibility to recognize our legal rights. Moral expectations are just that, i.e., unenforecable expectations. Mutaliab is an adult, with adult responsibilities and he did not shoulder them.
    What if it were my son? If my son violated his legal responsibilities, I would want no more or no less for my son than the legal rights to which he is entitled. I am also keenly aware that it could have been my son who was the victim of Mutaliab’s criminal actions.

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