Monday, August 22, 2005

Bereaved Parents

One of life's sad truths is that parents worry more about their kids than vice-versa. And that a minority of parents who's kids are killed behave irrationally, turning on the nearest available target. So we should understand the mad grief of Cindy Sheehan and the mother of Jean de Menezes, the Brazilian mistakenly shot by London cops. But keep a beady eye on the lefties using them to advance their own agendas.

I've just finished an excellent book on the Brit Navy's breaking of the WW2 German/Italian siege of the Island of Malta (of which more in a later post), in which over 600 sailors died. The parents of one of them became convinced that he was betrayed by the Brit Navy which they said had a left a crate labeled "Malta" on the dockside where the fleet loaded up in Scotland - thus giving the destination away to any spies that penetrated the dockyard.

It didn't matter to the parents that the vast Brit fleet had to fight its way along the entire Mediterranean under the eyes of their enemies, that its entry to the Med at Gibraltar was tracked by Nazi-sympathizing Spain, that the North African coast was occupied by the Nazi-collaborating Vichy French, which reported its every move.

The parents had political clout and ran a prolonged campaign, getting questions asked in the Houses of Parliament and forcing a Special Inquiry to be mounted (a big diversion in the middle of a desperate war for Britain's survival). From which nothing emerged.

I think this reflects a desire in some bereaved parents to get back at any target - they couldn't get back at the Spanish and French who betrayed their son, or the Germans and Italians who killed him. So they settled for the Royal Navy, which they could reach.

Interestingly the parents of the other 600 dead didn't react this way. Perhaps they had other children - so the loss was less; perhaps they didn't want to take resources away from their son's surviving comrades; perhaps they were proud that their sons had died to relieve the starving people of Malta and turn the tide against the Nazis.

Two current examples show this extreme reaction. Mrs Sheehan's son, Casey, volunteered to fight, and so she should be directing her rage at his terrorist killers. But she can't reach them, so the President is the next available target. But she's the only parent of the hundreds of bereaved who've taken this route.

The mother of Jean de Menezes should consider him as a victim of the suicide bombers who killed his fellow Londoners - if those attacks had not happened, her son would still be alive. But she can't get at them, so attacks the London police instead. Again, she's in a minority - none of the parents of the other 52 dead and the many maimed are attacking the cops for failing to protect them.

So, this sort of unfocused reaction to bereavement is rare, but it does happen, and I find it hard to condemn.

Of course the usual suspects are exploiting this grief, and Mrs Sheehan has been egged on by lefties of all sorts, including the MSM. Mrs de Menezes' lead lawyer built her career defending alleged terrorists, initially the IRA and more recently:

defending a number of terrorist suspects detained indefinitely in the UK as well as those who have just returned to the country from Guantanamo Bay.

(Incidentally, Americans bemused by the right-wing Brit MSM following the left on this case (notably the London Times) should appreciate the long & unique Brit cultural tradition of supporting the underdog).

So we should condemn the fellow travelers for exploiting parental grief for their own political ends. But we already know they are moral cripples, and if they weren't leveraging these folks they'd be doing something equally self-annihilating.

So that's my take. Pity the bereaved, cut them some slack, go after the fellow travelers.

Finally, Gandalf Junior and The Gandalfette should be aware that in the unlikely event of either them being topped, I will take out the folks that did the deed. Even though they forgot my birthday.