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Hold on to ideals

Todd Velianski | Friday, November 20, 2009

I am writing in response to Mark Easley’s piece entitled “Terrorists are not American” (Nov. 19) which concerns the trying and detaining of suspected terrorists. He states, “Terrorists demote themselves to second class citizens … and we should treat them accordingly.”
I must respectfully disagree. We have every right to be angry. We have every right to want justice. But the justice that Americans hold dear is not mere retribution, rather it is a fairness afforded each person, not because of his or her individual merits, but because of the Creator who endows each man with inalienable rights.
Terrorists seek not only to destroy American lives; they seek to destroy American ideals as well. They seek to instill hatred, fear and corruption. If we let our hatred and fear blur our vision of justice, if we forsake mercy for retribution, and if we forget that it is God who instills all men with rights, then the terrorists have already won.
Therefore, let us remember, in the case of those awaiting trial, that our ideals declare a man innocent until proven guilty. And for those found guilty, that punishment and detention are different from vengeance. By seeking revenge we usurp the role of God, and make ourselves devils in the process.

Todd Vielanski
Keough Hall
Nov. 20