Factoring Evil Into The Equation

Most of us have become accustomed to the minor inconvenience of fastening our safety belts before we put our cars in gear and begin driving. The chance of being in an accident is infinitesimal – but why take chances?

Since Sept. 11, 2001, most people have had to endure minor inconveniences and sometimes more troublesome adjustments to how we do things for precisely the same reason. The chance of being caught up in a terrorist attack is infinitesimal – but why take chances?

For many years, thousands of people have enjoyed the annual Ogden Newspapers Half Marathon Classic here in Wheeling, either as participants or spectators. It really is a wonderful event. Until now, security hasn’t been much of a concern. That changed about a month ago.

How many participants in the Boston Marathon on April 15 were worried about terrorist bombs? Virtually none, I’d guess, until two explosions went off, killing three people and injuring 264 others, some very badly.

Now we in Wheeling cannot afford to ignore the possibility – very small, but still very real- that evil will visit us.

For that reason, new rules prohibiting backpacks, briefcases, packages and baby strollers in the area around the race start-finish line, as well as some limits on vehicles, have been established. They will be in effect during race events on May 24-25.

“Is it going to anger some people? Yes,” Wheeling Deputy Police Chief Martin Kimball told our reporter. But, he added, “That’s the world we live in these days.”

Sadly, it is.

The new security rules will be an inconvenience for some people, just like the many other alterations in behavior most of us have adopted to keep ourselves safe.

Don’t blame race organizers, police officers or security personnel. They’re only doing what they have no choice but to do.

How sad that we here in the Ohio Valley – once a place where the unruly drunk or two was the big security concern at a public event – now have to worry about terrorism coming home to us.

You may want to consider that the next time you hear someone insist we need to take into account the reasons why some Muslims become terrorists. Some will tell you U.S. foreign policy is to blame. We give Israel too much support and ignore the plight of the Palestinians, they say. Why should we be surprised if militant Muslims turn to violence?

That’s sickening, in a way. First, of course, the terrorists should have learned by now that slaughtering innocents will not result in the U.S. policy changes they claim to desire. And second, what possible excuse is there for killing and maiming people – including children – by the thousands for no reason other than to terrorize Americans?

No, it won’t wash. Islamic terrorist organizations don’t even make a pretense. They make it very clear their desire is to slaughter “infidels.”

So if you’re put off a bit by security rules at the race this year, don’t blame the folks trying to keep us safe.

Pin it on the real problem: evil.

Myer can be reached at: mmyer@theintelligencer.net.