There’s a moral disease going around America in the recent years. It’s likely been around since military massacres of civilians were replaced with civilian massacres of civilians. It’s the idea that, wherever a group of civilians are murdered, that we should bulldoze or block public use of that building, and convert it into a memorial.
In the panoply of America’s moral problems, it doesn’t top the list, but I suggest it deserves a closer look, because current historical trends indicate that we will continue encountering it with increasing frequency. In modern memory, it started with almost every notorious yet soon-forgotten mass shooting -- Cleveland Elementary, Stockton, CA - 1989; Lindhurst High School (H.S.), Olivehurst, CA - 1992; Heath H.S., West Paducah, KY - 1997; Thurston H.S., Springfield, OR - 1998; Columbine H.S., CO - 1999; Virginia Tech - 2007; Northern Illinois State - 2008; then 2012‘s Chardon H.S., OH; and Sandy Hook Elementary. Then there’s the four notorious non-school-related mass shootings that jointly racked up 134 victims shot, 49 dead -- Luby’s Cafeteria, Killeen TX - 1991; 101 California, San Francisco- 1993; Los Angeles Jewish Community Center, - 1999; Aurora Theaters, CO -2012.
In most of those cases, there was a certain clamor to close the affected buildings, sites, or institution, and replace it with a monument or memorial.
That’s a bad idea. Here’s why:
First, it means the terrorists win. If Israel did this every time it suffered a massacre, the entire country would be a monument, and the future of a Living Israel would be self-eliminated. Israel gets this incessantly. They clean up and move on, sending future killers the message that they cannot disrupt a way of life.
Second, it’s the height of self-important morbid narcissism. It fetishizes death in the most selfish way. None of us is so important that we should make a theater into a public memorial. I’m sorry for the tragic losses of survivors. But people die tragically all the time while driving, hunting, boating, construction, bathing, during robberies, carjackings, rapes, murders. They’re ALL senseless. If a given survivor feels he/she can’t ever go to that theater again, that’s him clinging to his sense of survivor guilt. Do you think your killed loved one would want your daily life disfigured by your inability to process your grief for the rest of your life? Would your dead loved one want you to be so emotionally crippled as to be unable to give joy, love, support and laughter to others? We all know the truism -- your dead loved one would want you to live a fuller, richer life -- not to deny everyone else use of a given facility or property because you want your loved one honored. The thought that I as a father would choose to keep a building open where my hypothetical son was killed, is not incumbent on my whims. It is my civic duty to let it stay open. It is a duty not only to my fellow citizens, but a duty to my loved ones who are still living, a duty to be fully human, a duty to maintain a receptive soul so that I can at the least mirror if not project my humanity toward others, and hopefully, to enrich their lives.
In contrast, to make the entire building where my hypothetical son was killed into a non-productive monument, is to force-feed my personal inability or refusal to process grief upon every other person in my community who may want to utilize that building for anything besides witnessing my selfish clinging to my personal demons. It’s not merely a reflection of my inability to process loss, but also my arrogance to state that my hypothetical dead son was so supremely important to the world that I feel that all other Americans should be denied the privilege if not right, to use that building for any other purpose than to worship at the altar of MY self-importance, and the importance of MY family and of MY son.
I’m sorry if I have offended the families of victims of violence, but the unintended selfish arrogance of people who feel that the rest of the world must imbue the same value in the victim’s family as the victim’s family does, by denying public use of killing sites, offends me as the member of a democratic society that best operates on the premise that each of us is part of a greater whole, and not just 300 million competing individual units of ego and self worth.
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Keeping his promise to fix the broken immigration system, President Barack Obama unveiled sweeping executive action on immigration Thursday night, Nov. 20, granting temporary legal status and work permits to almost five million undocumented immigrants living in the country in the largest single immigration action in modern American history.
In a primetime televised message from the White House, Obama offered relief for an estimated 4.1 million undocumented parents of U.S. citizens, and about 300,000 undocumented immigrants who came to America illegally as children.
The president also said he would make it "easier and faster for high-skilled immigrants, graduates and entrepreneurs to stay and contribute to our economy," a program that could benefit 600,000 people in the high tech industry.
MANILA – Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno has emerged as the biggest defender of the PH-US Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) whose constitutionality is being challenged at the Supreme Court even as calls for its junking grew more strident in the aftermath of a senseless killing in Olongapo City last month involving a visiting American serviceman.
This augurs well for the Aquino government which hoped that EDCA would pass muster so that it helps improve the country’s defense capability in light of the maritime dispute with China on the West Philippine Sea. The pact was signed last April between Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and U.S. Ambassador Philip Goldberg and, being an Executive-level agreement, saw no need for Senate ratification.
As oral arguments on several petitions to junk EDCA started Tuesday at SC, Sereno offered arguments herself belying the claim of petitioners that the agreement requires Senate ratification. She also dismissed as "speculative" declarations made by petitioners that EDCA violates territorial integrity and sovereignty and that it is lopsided in favor of U.S. interests.
Sereno addressed the petitioners: "The fact that we brought a (maritime dispute) before the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea, isn't that a fact that we must explore all means? Isn't that the greatest threat when our fishing grounds are no longer accessible to us? I see our islands in the West Philippine Sea being overtaken. What is wrong with prepositioning? How long does it take for a missile to reach Palawan?"
SAN FRANCISCO — An online petition campaign is trying to ensure the implementation of a law passed in October requiring the inclusion of the contributions of Filipino soldiers to the Allied victory in World War II.
The Bataan Legacy Historical Society (BLHS) is urging the implementation of AB199 or the World War II (WWII) Filipino Veterans in Curriculum Act, adopted by the California legislature in September 2011 and approved by Governor Jerry Brown last October.