Friday, August 21, 2009
No Compassion for the Victims of Pan Am 103
I try not to let politics enter my blog, but tonight it must.
I am watching CNN International from a hotel in Germany as Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, a Libyan terrorist, is welcomed home as a hero by hundred throwing flower peddles and chanting slogans.
What did this hero do to deserve this welcome? He served eight years for killing 270 people by blowing a jumbo jet out of the sky over Lockerbie, Scotland. The people he killed were not in the military and did not represent any government. All they did was board Pan Am 103 or go to their homes in Lockerbie on Dec. 21, 1988.
This thug ended up serving a year for every 33.75 lives he took. It comes down to cold hard math. While having him in jail cannot bring these people back or grant peace to their families, clearly having him released to spend his final days with his family as a hero in his country is a final insult to the victims' families.
I get upset at gutless thugs when they do these sort of things, but this is a little personal. There were 35 students from Syracuse Univeristy’s London Department of International Programs Abroad on that flight. I had been a part of that program in 1980 and it really changed my life for the better. I know these 35 young people would have made a difference in their communities and the world. Instead, this murdering miscreant planted a bomb in a suitcase in Malta that ended up on Pam Am 103. Now he is a hero in Tripoli.
The Libyans have been playing a long political game. They have paid damages to the families, but don’t admit responsibility. Today, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s son welcomed home the murderer of 270 people and gave him a hug. Later Gaddafi hugged the mass murderer himself. That says enough for me, but the Libyans are now claiming the release was part of a trade deal with Great Britain.
The Scottish government released this convicted killer of 270 people on what it calls compassionate grounds. He is believed to be dying of prostate cancer. Since when does a mass murder deserve any compassion? He is now a hero in Libya. The Scottish government and the British ministers who must have approved of this release have to be cringing at the video from Tripoli. But what did they expect? This murdering thug is a hero in his country and the dictator Gaddafi gets to laugh at the United States.
I expected this from the Libyans. And I don’t know any possible way of signaling my displeasure to a government that kills innocent people and then treats the killers as heroes. But the Scottish did have the killer and had sentenced him after a just trial. The United Kingdom had this killer in their custody. They decided that a year in jail for every 33.75 lives was enough.
While I don’t believe in letting politics enter my blog, I also don’t believe I’m going to be ordering any Scotch whisky or British ale for a good long period of time. Let’s just say it’s my way of expressing compassion for the victims of this terrorist act.