Wednesday, August 10, 2005

First the Good News or the Bad News? 

Actually, sometimes it's hard to tell which is which. Let's start with the bad news:

Police in a New Jersey town arrested a man on a terrorism-pretence charge...
Here we go again. But wait, while this may not count as legitimate good news, there's more:

...but [in] what many saw as a reversal of roles, the complainant being a Pakistani Muslim and the person nabbed a white American.
Pakistan's Daily Times sure seems to think it's good news; although, from the largest perspective, I actually find it a little depressing. The genie is out of the bottle, and Pandora's box blown to smithereens. Planting bombs, threatening to, or even just pretending to, is apparently the new in-thing. Everybody's doing it. Recently, we've even had anti-disengagement protesters in Israel apparently planting fake bombs in their own bus stations. And now this yahoo (dumb bloke, not the company) "terrorism-pretence":

About two months ago, Jack Clark came saying he had car trouble. Choudhry asked him to leave the car and let him see what the matter was. He took a day, found the cause of the problem and fixed it. The customer came back, found his car running nicely, paid $200 that the repair had cost and drove away happily.

Two months later he returned, demanding his money back. When a perplexed Choudhry asked why he was demanding the refund, Clark replied that he had realised that all that had been done to the car to have it up and running was no more than the change of a screw or two.
One thing leads to another, and next thing you know, instead of calling in the Better Business Bureau, or Oprah, like in the good old days, our intrepid idiot has a better plan:

To Choudhry’s surprise, he [Clark] returned late at night when Choudhry normally goes to total up the day’s sales. This time, the irate customer was holding a packet with wires jutting out of it and a timing device on top of the contraption. He placed the packet on the ground, jumped into his car and drove off after shouting some obscenities...
Oh, I can't wait until technological advances put nuclear weapons technology within reach of the masses. Mutually Assured Destruction sounds more and more Assured by the day.

On a serious note, though, while certain organizations ridiculously warn of "backlash" before Al Qaeda even finishes claiming credit for each attack, there are, nevertheless, a lot of perfectly innocent Muslims who truly have suffered backlash. It is a shame that the term is cheapened through preemptive overuse. Consider the victim in this case:

Choudhry, whose brother Waqar Hasan, who was running a convenience store in Dallas, Texas, was murdered in revenge for the 9/11 attacks, ran to the road where a police car was cruising by.
This must have been especially traumatic for him.

We need to keep idiots of all stripes away from explosives. This isn't to pretend that Jack Clark and his drinking buddies are the same strategic threat as certain other groups and their non-drinking buddies. But they aren't making it any easier.

If you really, really liked this -- or even really, really hated it -- there's lots more: