Needless to say, Tsarnaev is probably the single most hated figure in America now. As a result, as Bazelon noted, not many people will care what is done to him, just like few people care what happens to the accused terrorists at Guantanamo, or Bagram, or in Yemen and Pakistan. But that’s always how rights are abridged: by targeting the most marginalized group or most hated individual in the first instance, based on the expectation that nobody will object because of how marginalized or hated they are. Once those rights violations are acquiesced to in the first instance, then they become institutionalized forever, and there is no basis for objecting once they are applied to others, as they inevitably will be (in the case of the War on Terror powers: as they already are being applied to others). As Bazelon concludes:
No one is crying over the rights of the young man who is accused of killing innocent people, helping his brother set off bombs that were loaded to maim, and terrorizing Boston Thursday night and Friday. But the next time you read about an abusive interrogation, or a wrongful conviction that resulted from a false confession, think about why we have Miranda in the first place. It’s to stop law enforcement authorities from committing abuses. Because when they can make their own rules, sometime, somewhere, they inevitably will.
Leave aside the fact that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been convicted of nothing and is thus entitled to a presumption of innocence. The reason to care what happens to him is because how he is treated creates precedent for what the US government is empowered to do, including to US citizens on US soil. When you cheer for the erosion of his rights, you’re cheering for the erosion of your own.”
One of the strongest practical arguments in favor of the Roe regime is that abortion has been around since time immemorial and outlawing it only drove it underground, leading women to endanger themselves by seeking out the services of back-alley quacks. The Philadelphia grand jurors recounted a powerful example from their own city’s history.
It was called the Mother’s Day Massacre. A young Philadelphia doctor “offered to perform abortions on 15 poor women who were bused to his clinic from Chicago on Mother’s Day 1972, in their second trimester of pregnancy.” The women didn’t know that the doctor “planned to use an experimental device called a ‘super coil’ developed by a California man named Harvey Karman.”
A colleague of Karman’s Philadelphia collaborator described the contraption as “basically plastic razors that were formed into a ball… . They were coated into a gel, so that they would remain closed. These would be inserted into the woman’s uterus. And after several hours of body temperature, … the gel would melt and these … things would spring open, supposedly cutting up the fetus.”
Nine of the 15 Chicago women suffered serious complications. One of them needed a hysterectomy. The following year, the Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade. It would be 37 more years before the Philadelphia doctor who carried out the Mother’s Day Massacre would go out of business. His name is Kermit Gosnell.”
“You watch the videos of the carnage and there are people running TOWARDS the destruction to help out. … We would not be here if humanity were inherently evil. We’d have eaten ourselves alive long ago.”
Patton Oswalt posted this on Facebook right after the Boston attack (and apparently HuffPo picked it up this morning).
I just want to ask him, given that I’ve read a bit about what the ancient world was like: do you have any IDEA how close we were to actually eating ourselves alive 2,000 years ago? Circling the toilet, we were. Go ahead. Read about how the Egyptians and the Chaldeans treated even common thieves. Read about the crowds of people who watched the executions, cheering. Read the Iliad. Read the Odyssey. Read the tragedies. Read Thucydides. Read Plato. Read Livy. Read any description of the first century BC, when Cicero’s head was nailed to the rostrum as part of the proscriptions. Read about the first holocaust - Masada, Jerusalem, and the rest. Read it and weep.
Humanity was damned.
And then, right when things looked darkest, the world was remade. We were given a brand new start.
You, Patton Oswalt, are living in the midst of the promise of the future. The only reason we have people who run *to* disasters instead of away from them is that we were shown how to be that kind of people by a God who ran to our disaster. We know how to bear the griefs of others because our griefs and sorrows have themselves been carried by someone else.
When the plague struck ancient Roman cities, anybody with money or stamina (or both) ran for the hills, leaving the poor and the sick behind. Unless they were Christians. The Christians were in the cities, bandaging sores and feeding the hungry and burying the dead … and then dying of plague themselves. They did it because it was exactly what they knew God had already done for them.
And since that time, the Church has taught the world how a new humanity behaves. Even people who reject Christ and His work have inherited this education; it’s the air we breathe now. The well has been un-poisoned.
But second-hand righteousness doesn’t cut it in the end. This is the hard part. Unless you are covered in Christ’s righteousness, you are not on the side of true Good - no matter how many times you run selflessly toward a disaster.
So, to say that “the good outnumber [the evil], and … always will” is true. Good is victorious - that was proven on Easter Sunday. Evil will never win. But unless you kiss the Son, you are on the losing side.
No worst, there is none. Pitched past pitch of grief,
More pangs will, schooled at forepangs, wilder wring.
Comforter, where, where is your comforting?
Mary, mother of us, where is your relief?
My cries heave, herds-long; huddle in a main, a chief
Woe, wórld-sorrow; on an áge-old anvil wince and sing —
Then lull, then leave off. Fury had shrieked ‘No ling-
ering! Let me be fell: force I must be brief.”’
O the mind, mind has mountains; cliffs of fall”
Frightful, sheer, no-man-fathomed. Hold them cheap
May who ne’er hung there. Nor does long our small
Durance deal with that steep or deep. Here! creep,
Wretch, under a comfort serves in a whirlwind: all
Life death does end and each day dies with sleep.
“A harem’s a bo’d’n-house, I reck’n. Mos’ likely dey has rackety times in de nussery. En I reck’n de wives quarrels considable; en dat ‘crease de racket. Yit dey say Sollermun de wises’ man dat ever live’. I doan’ take no stock in dat. Bekase why: would a wise man want to live in de mids’ er sich a blimblammin’ all de time?”