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Crimes of the NYC cyclist killings kind are only rewarded by outbursts such as the US President’s.
It has been reported that the person charged with deliberately running over cyclists on a New York bike path, killing eight and injuring 11, had planned his act for up to a year. That seems surprising.
Even if he spent 24 hours rather than 24 seconds forming the brutal intent – “I’m going to run people over, maybe cyclists, in New York” – the planning required is limited. “Will need truck.” It was not a sophisticated crime, but neither did it need to be. Because so many people are paralysed by the word “terrorism”, the criminal does his deed then some politicians and officials overreact, magnifying the impact and inadvertently diminishing the importance of the victims.
In the New York case, US President Donald Trump would like to see the offender executed: “SHOULD GET DEATH PENALTY!”, he tweeted, in capital letters. “Should get fair trial first,” I say, with the caps lock off.
Trump’s message went to his 43 million Twitter followers and the media published it so that even those of us sensible enough to go nowhere near Twitter can share Trump’s innermost thoughts. Or perhaps share his most superficial thoughts, if there is any difference.
Now he would like to kill off the green-card lottery, a quirky system that allows 50,000 people a year permanent residency in the US. Its aims are noble – to enhance diversity – but because the alleged assailant in the cycleway killings entered the US via the lottery, albeit in 2010 when there were no signs of his mental illness or evil intent, Trump would like the system thrown out.
The tendency to pick out a crime such as this and call for changes to immigration, whereas the slaying of 58 people at a Las Vegas concert brought no presidential calls to action, exalts the status of so-called “terror” crimes and their perpetrators. Being at that concert in Las Vegas would have counted as terror to me, but we have handed the word over to a certain type of criminal, given it new meaning and under that banner, some politicians and some officials think any response is justified. It is not.
The offender is either a criminal or mentally ill or living in that halfworld between the two. Either way, he can be tried and, if guilty, locked up for life without any change in America’s laws. These types of crimes and these types of criminals should not be rewarded by having statutes rewritten.
This week, I went to my first estate sale, a common way for Americans to get rid of household possessions, usually after a family member has died.
These items are poignant enough when they end up in estate salerooms, but here, to walk through the home is to invite even more contemplation about the things large and small, useful and useless, cheap and expensive, that most of us collect in a lifetime.
Although I am sometimes perplexed at the things Americans buy, I do not scoff at their consumerism because as a collector of china and books I am in no position to cast the first stone when it comes to accumulating material possessions.
I do not adhere to the school of thought that possessions cannot make you happy. On the contrary, I derive much happiness from my collections, but I get that it’s strictly personal.
Long ago, I gave up yelling at my kids, so now if they cross me I just smile to myself and think, “Ha, one day you are going to have to deal with all the china.”
I am in no position to cast the first stone when it comes to accumulating possessions.
“Can Emily come out to abstain from having sex?”