THE PILOT EDITORIAL - Enough already

Thursday, September 20, 2001

Our leaders urged us to get back to normal, not back to abnormal. The things people do sometimes are simply perplexing.

Like the teenagers who apparently saw the need to detonate a small homemade bomb on a Storm Lake city street, one day after the national day of

mourning for thousands of victims of a violent terrorist attack.

One would think all people should have seen enough of hatred, violence and destruction as all this unfolded on their televisions over the past week.

Instead, a deluge of local police reports come flooding in. An alleged death threat against a woman and her children, and a gun seized. A sexual assault against a young woman in a dorm room reported. A child left crying in a vehicle in a parking lot for an extended period, and the mother charged. Drug arrests. All within a few days of some of the worst tragedies in the history of our nation.

Police seize what they feel is a racially-offensive poster from a business. A violation of free speech? Or is the message itself a violation of human rights? The poster probably speaks what is on more than a few minds, but the actions of a few terrorists should not lead to hatred against Arab-Americans. The 40-some retaliatory attacks on people based on their skin color around the U.S. this week are not helping anyone.

None of that is quite the "normal" we would like to picture. Some pathetic jokester once again clogs up the fountain that is a memorial to a fine young man with soap suds. That's about normal, albeit both lead-headed and unoriginal.

Surely the massive violence we have seen played out before us should lead us to a little extra kindness, a little extra togetherness, a little extra calmness in our own community.

For every police report and angry act, in the wake of our nation's tragedies there are dozens of Storm Lake people giving funds, prepared to give blood, organizing helping efforts, saying prayers for others in need. This is the good that really is "normal," if seldom seen at this level because it is seldom needed.

The handful of incidents of ugliness involve a tiny, tiny minority - they just seem to stand out especially due to the timing of far greater troubles. In the long run, we will remember how Storm Lake helped. We have all seen our fill of ugliness, we would hope that all communities could be especially resolved now to peacefully solve our own small problems.