Sunday, February 24, 2008

'Suspicious activity' turns out to be a 'misunderstanding'

An article in today's Dispatch/Argus reveals that we now know the identity of the men who some thought were 'Middle Eastern' looking and 'acting suspiciously' last Sunday at mass at St. Pius X Catholic Church in Rock Island. One of the men recently moved to Rock Island and the others were friends of his visiting because his father had recently died. They are all Catholics and natives of India and had the same purposes and motives for attending church that day as all the other worshipers. Read the newspaper article.

How could the actions of these men be considered 'suspicious' when the men had the same purposes and reasons for being there as everyone else? Apparently there are a lot of people around here whose fear of terrorism is so much greater than the actual threat that they see terrorists where none exist.

Obviously there are downsides to the Bush Administration's encouragement to us to be alert and afraid. Is there any upside? Has a hyperalert citizen noticed something and thereby averted a terrorist attack?


The Inside Dope said...

Dave, thanks for bringing this incident to my attention. That is beyond a doubt the most disgusting example of mindless fear and ignorance I've heard in some time.

And not only did it actually happen, and supposedly intelligent people even went so far as calling the cops, for pity's sake, who in turn involved some expensive and most likely useless bureacracy funded with millions of tax dollars, (the state terror outfit), but it was even worse.

I'm truly not sure if I should laugh or cry that these people were so mindlessly fearful, so blindly ignorant, and so downright STUPID that they would leap to all these conclusions, bring in all these agencies and waste their time, all because they actually thought, grown people... actually thought that terrorists, out of the entire United States, out of the entire WORLD, decided to come and plan an attack where? On a Catholic church in Rock Island, IL.

I rest my case.

These people demostrate the effects of a government actively encouraging people to be mindlessly fearful of everything, and to think that anyone with black hair and brown skin is a potential threat.

It's sinful.

And what's worse yet is that there was no mention of the church doing ANYTHING to address such mindless stupidity and ignorance.

Nothing about them making an effort, as they clearly should, to use the incident to both welcome and assure this Indian immigrant that he and his family are most welcome in the church, but to also use the moment to teach tolerance and caution against mindless and irrational fear and bigotry.

I sincerely hope this has happened so that at least some sort of good can come of such a horrible and ignorant incident.

Dave Barrett said...

I share your hope that the church is making an effort to make sure that family knows it is welcome. Hopefully the priest only omitted telling the newspaper about the steps the church is taking to combat bigotry and ignorance because of the extreme embarrassment some members of the congregation are feeling about the incident.

Ellen Beth said...

Thanks for posting this Dave. My congressman is one of the chief hate baiters and fearmongers in the country and many folks in our area think it's at worse harmless politics and probably good security. It sort of reminds me of Salem, Mass. circa 1692.

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