Jihad Jane Shatters Terror Stereotype
Leonard Pitts Jr.
Evil is not a color.
It has no particular religion nor creed, nor style of dress, nor gender nor geographic home. Evil is an equal opportunity employer.
One hopes we learn at least that much from the adventures of Jihad Jane.
That, according to federal prosecutors, is the name
LaRose, prosecutors say, used the Internet to recruit would-be terrorists. She allegedly sought to kill a Swedish artist who had angered Muslims by depicting the Prophet Mohammed with a dog's body. LaRose is also said to have agreed to marry one of her conspirators. According to the indictment, she wrote that it would be "an honor & great pleasure to die or kill" for her intended.
Seven alleged members of the would-be terror cell have been apprehended in
Which ought to serve as a rebuke to the guy standing in the airport security line grumbling at how the TSA agent is running his wand over some dewy-eyed grandmother who obviously isn't a threat.
Even more, it should rebuke pundits like
Jihad Jane is the reason that's a dumb idea. She is, according to published reports and photos, 4-foot-11-inches tall, 105 pounds and 46 years of age, with pale skin, blonde hair and blue eyes. She is, literally, a citizen of Main Street, USA, having made her home on that thoroughfare in the
There are several good arguments against profiling. It's morally wrong. It's an abridgement of civil liberties.
But Jihad Jane embodies the most compelling of them. Put aside squishy appeals to conscience and principle and deal instead with hard pragmatism. Pragmatism will tell you that to concentrate solely on swarthy Middle Eastern men is to turn a blind eye to everyone else. But as demonstrated by LaRose, by convicted terrorists
And here, it might be fruitful to recall a point
The moral of the story: to depend for our safety on profiling is to open a gap in our already gap-ridden security. It creates a blind spot. One can envision TSA giving some Middle Eastern businessman the third degree while a tiny blonde saunters by with a bomb in her purse.
So we should be thankful for the vigilance of federal authorities that nabbed Jihad Jane. In the process, they remind us: evil is not a color, a religion, a gender or a style of dress.
That shouldn't need saying. But somehow, it always does.
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Jihad Jane Shatters Terror Stereotype | Leonard Pitts Jr.
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