Then a bomb exploded on Pan Am flight 103. A few minutes later, all 259 people on the airliner were dead, along with 11 more on the ground.
Libyan terrorists were later caught, tried, and sentenced. And, there were the usual claims of faked evidence. (Conspiracy theories are a perennial favorite (January 14, 2009))
Recently Abdel Basset al-Megrahi got sick. Terminally ill. He's one of the 'Lockerbie bombers,' serving time in the U. K. - or was, until the judicial system there felt sorry for him and let him go home to Libya. And a hero's welcome.
Compassion is nice. I'm sure that Abdel Basset al-Megrahi feels a bit better, now that he's had an opportunity to receive the adulation due (in Libya, at any rate) someone who's responsible for mass murder. And, he'll probably enjoy what's left of his life more, now that he's no longer surrounded by people who aren't up to his standards.
As I said, compassion is nice. But it's something that might be nice, even if it were extended to people who aren't responsible for snuffing out 270 lives. Like the friends and families of the people murdered by Abdel Basset al-Megrahi.
The judicial system of America, quite a few years ago, discovered that, just as there were those pathetic-looking, sympathetic 'victims of society' who showed up in the courtrooms regularly, there were victims of crime.
Not long after that discovery, a concept sometimes called 'victims' rights' was discussed. To some extent, the American judicial process now takes into account survivors of criminal activity: and those whose lives were linked with the non-survivors.
It's a concept which has, I think, some merit: and which might, with some modifications, be adopted by the judicial systems of other countries.
Just a thought.
I've mentioned before that, preferences for regarding all nations as equivalent notwithstanding, not all nations are alike. I think the same could be said about people.
Finally, I'm with British Foreign Secretary David Miliband's response to the hero's welcome Libya gave the terrorist. According to him, seeing that was "deeply distressing" and "deeply upsetting" - strong words from a Britisher, but not, I think, inappropriate in this case.
- "Terrorists, America, and Generalizations"
(July 28, 2009)
- "North Korea and the Kim Jong Dynasty: Not All Countries are the Same"
(June 9, 2009)
- "Hamas, Palestine, Israel, and How to Seem Sophisticated"
(January 3, 2009)
- "Guinea, Military Rule, and Terrorism: Beware Hasty Judgment"
(December 29, 2008)
- "Riyadh: Home to International Business, Islam, and Reality Checks"
(February 7, 2008)
- "Barbary Pirates, Tribute, and Tripoli"
(November 12, 2007)
- "Two Cultures: Two Responses"
(October 21, 2007)
- "It's Different, When You're in Charge"
(September 27, 2007)
- "Congress Must Decide Who to Protect Americans From"
(August 5, 2007)
- "Muslims Are Not All Alike"
(August 19, 2007)
- "UK minister condemns Lockerbie bomber's 'hero's welcome' "
CNN (August 21, 2009)
- "Convicted Lockerbie Bomber Returns Home to Libya, a Hero"
ABC News (August 21, 2009)
- "Pan Am Flight 103 Archives"
The Lockerbie Air Disaster