Minneapolis Star-Tribune reader’s representative Kate Parry wrote two Saturdays ago that the Star-Trib should be more consistent in identifying those who purposefully murder civilians for political ends as terrorists. She specifically identified inconsistencies in labeling the London subway attackers “terrorists” but not the members of Hamas and Islamic Jihad who perpetrate terrorist attacks against Israel. This week, she publishes selected reader responses to her column.
Most seem to support Parry’s contention that “when a person intent on a cause straps explosives to his body and detonates himself to harm nearby civilians, he and his supporters become terrorists. Period.” But she does get letters from readers like these:
When a wedding party of 40 people is wiped out by a misplaced American bomb, these people are just as dead as if a suicide bomber waded into the group and blew himself up. The survivors and their families suffer and grieve just as long and just as hard. How much of a difference, in practical terms and in terms of morality, is there between the two methods of killing the innocent?
In practical and moral terms, one was an accident and the other premeditated murder. Newspaper editors who refuse to use the T-word come up with more complex reasoning than the author of this letter, of course, but it boils down to the same moral equivalency. The editors of the Star-Trib should listen to their reader’s rep, who mercifully represents her better readers: Call them terrorists already.