Americans should be upset about the seven people killed and 48 injured in London on Saturday night.
Americans should join the people of Manchester in mourning the 22 mostly young girls killed by a suicide bomber at a May 22 pop concert.
Americans also should be aghast over 100 people killed and 463 wounded by a truck bomb in Kabul on May 31 and the 20 more killed by explosions on June 2 at some of the funerals.
Terrorism is a worldwide scourge. It knows no boundaries, respects no religion, gives no quarter for age, gender or virtue. Terrorists kill Muslim, Hindu, Christian and Jewish people. They kill because it creates fear and fear creates opportunity. For them.
Americans should never lose heart in our ability to confront it and defeat it. Nor should the rest of the world.
But there are also things Americans should not do while pursuing and eliminating terrorists. We should not use any incident to propel political goals. And the deaths of innocents is not an occasion to pick needless fights. It is not an opportunity to show your stupidity by making threats, shaking your fists and creating needless acrimony.
Unfortunately, President Donald Trump apparently knows nothing of how to confront terrorism, though the nations of the world have had more than a generation to learn the lessons. Trump’s senseless, reckless and heartless tweets once again expose him as part bully, part buffoon and thoroughly incapable of leading. By trying to allude that London’s Muslim Mayor Sadiq Khan was someone trying to downplay the gravity of the situation, Trump was not only out-of-bounds, he was just plain wrong.
Beloved British author J.K. Rowling was speaking for millions of Britons when she responded to Trump’s baseless and senseless tweets: “if we need an alarmist blowhard, we’ll call.”
There is much we can do in concert with other nations to confront terrorism. But beyond pledging solidarity, expressing our sorrow and offering help for everyone – Britons, Afghans, Italians, Israelis and so many others – traumatized by senseless violence, there is little more to be said. Or tweeted. It is better to begin the work of neutralizing those who foment violence.
The British get this; many in the Muslim community are coming forward to offer whatever assistance they can. The French get it, too. When an man near Notre Dame shouted “This is for Syria,” before attacking a police officer, he got no further. Another security officer shot him.
Trump, meanwhile, uses the London attack and its surrounding tragedies to rally support for his proposed travel ban – the one that penalizes nations that have never sent a known terrorist to America; the one that has so far been found unconstitutional.
Such a ban would not make us safer; quite the opposite.
Nor do the bloodthirsty words of a Louisiana Congressman who tweeted that we should “hunt them, identify them and kill them. Kill them all.”
He and Trump are selling fear, anger and the desire for retribution. We understand those emotions, but true leaders know that when there is work to be done we must hold them at arm’s length. We must show resolve, resiliency and the fortitude to carry the job through.