Death in Manchester

(From European Press Agency , via BBC News, used w/o permission.)
(“Thousands attended a vigil in Manchester earlier”
(BBC News)

Manchester is England’s second-largest urban center, in terms of population.

At around 10:30 Monday night, something like 21,000 folks — pre-teens, teenagers, adults — were leaving a music concert at the Manchester Arena. Someone with a bomb set it off in or near the arena’s foyer.

He’s dead. So are more than 20 other folks.

Except for the chap who killed them, the dead had been enjoying an Ariana Grande concert. The youngest victims I’ve read about were eight years old.

Quite a few others are injured. Some are missing.

I am not happy about this, putting it mildly.

Some Guy With a Bomb

The UK’s government raised their terror threat level to “critical,” the highest it’ll go.

That’s apparently because they can’t be sure that last night’s attack was a one-man show.

Under the circumstances, that seems reasonable.

It looks like the bomber had been born in Manchester, went to the city’s Salford University, supported Manchester United football team, and worked in a bakery. He’s Libyan, in the sense that his ancestors lived in Libya.

A trustee of the Manchester Islamic Centre said the bomber probably had been there. That’d hardly be surprising, since that’s where his father goes.

The trustee also pointed out that his mosque was, as BBC news put it, “a moderate, modern, liberal mosque, and he is a member of an organisation liaising with police, the Independent Advisory Group.”

Based on what’s in the news, I do not think that England should lock up all bakery workers, outlaw universities, and banish folks with Libyan ancestry.

My guess is that many or most most Libyans and Muslims living in England are as upset about what the now-dead ex-student did, as I was back when the IRA was giving “Irish” a bad name.

Manchester, 1996: IRA Bombing

I’m a Norwegian-Irish-Scots-American. My ancestors don’t define me, but without them I wouldn’t be here.

The point of that reminiscence is that news from the UK had a personal angle for me a few decades back. I was disgusted by what some folks were doing to my ancestral homeland’s reputation.

On June 15, 1996, the Provisional Irish Republican Army, or IRA, set off a truck bomb in Manchester.

Nobody was killed; thanks partly to the IRA telephoning ahead with a warning, and partly because the powers that be helped with an evacuation of about 75,000 folks.1

The IRA wasn’t always that careful. Or lucky. In any case, although I am not happy about what English monarchs have done to my ancestral homeland, I don’t think bombing English cities is a reasonable response.

That sort of thing is not even close to matching the criteria for legitimate defense. I’ve talked about that before. (September 20, 2016; September 11, 2016)

Love and Justice

I don’t know anyone in Manchester, and I’m not an Ariana Grande fan. I have nothing against her music: I simply don’t know much about it, or her.

Why should I care?

I’m a Christian, and a Catholic. Part of my job as a citizen is contributing “to the good of society in a spirit of truth, justice, solidarity, and freedom.” (Catechism, 2239)

My country and people, like the UK, are part of a big world. We are one of the places folks try to reach, when they flee death and poverty. I don’t mind. I’ll be worried if folks ever stop trying to come here.

Like I said, I’m a Christian and a Catholic.

Since I take our Lord seriously, I think loving God, loving my neighbor, and seeing everybody as my neighbor, makes sense. (Matthew 22:3640, Mark 12:2831; Matthew 5:4344; Mark 12:2831; Luke 10:2530; Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1825)

“Everybody” means everybody.

I keep saying this: I think human beings are people, all human beings. Each of us has equal dignity: no matter where we are, who we are, or how we act. (Catechism, 360, 17001706, 1929, 19321933, 1935, 2334)

Since I think respecting the “transcendent dignity” of humanity makes sense, I must work for justice — “as far as possible.” (Catechism, 1915, 19291933, 2820)

In my case, that’s pretty much limited to writing these posts, and suggesting that justice should not be all about “just us.”

And that’s another topic, for another day.

More, mostly about acting like love matters:

1 Manchester in the news:

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About Brian H. Gill

I was born in 1951. I'm a husband, father and grandfather. One of the kids graduated from college in December, 2008, and is helping her husband run businesses and raise my granddaughter; another is a cartoonist and artist; #3 daughter is a writer; my son is developing a digital game with #3 and #1 daughters. I'm also a writer and artist.
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