Anger, fear, contempt ”” these are understandable emotions when people learn of a would-be act of terrorism at a Christmas tree-lighting ceremony in their own downtown. I’ve gone through those, and a fair bit of sadness, too ”” sadness that a kid from our community would allegedly want to smash a happy scene to a million bits, sadness that no one set him straight, and sadness that my Muslim friends are feeling even more under the gun than before.
In the understandable rush to make sense of the nonsensical, people grasp for their ideologies: The Muslims are out to get us! Law enforcement has it in for minorities! What emerges for me is no rallying cry but some emphatic words of caution. Let’s be careful about picking our scapegoats and leaping to our favorite over-generalizations. And, especially, let’s choose responses that don’t hurt an already-bad situation.