A young man I went to high school was arrested yesterday for alleged terrorist plotting, right in our backyards of Ashland. While this is shocking in and of itself, I was even more jarred to see front page coverage of our town, our high school, and our yearbook right on CNN.com. Of course this is a big story, but it’s still quite odd and hits pretty close to home. It goes without saying how awful the entire situation is and how lucky we are that law enforcement was able to catch him. However, my roommate had a difficult time understanding the sorrow on my face as I tried to explain just how tragic I find the whole situation. I’m probably going to ruffle a lot of feathers - everyone’s initial reaction falls somewhere along the line of “that bastard, I hope he rots in Guantanamo!” - and while I would NEVER defend Rezwan’s horrendous intentions, I can’t help but immediately ponder the effect this will have on the people around him. Perhaps I’m judging from a standpoint of naivete, but assuming his family had no part in this, the lives of his brother and parents just changed forever. It’s also terrible for a proud community whose name is now on the map for the most deplorable of crimes. Rather than brewing over with revenge, I mostly find it sad and puzzling how someone can let that much hatred fester inside of them that they grow so radical in their beliefs. Not just him, anyone.
(For AK): Another phenomenon that became immediately evident was the way in which everyone from Ashland took to their various social media outlets to claim territory over the news story. It’s no secret that we’re wired to rubber neck and love drama so it’s only natural and perhaps expected that when such a large shocking story breaks right across the street, we’re inclined to advertise things like “that’s my neighborhood!” Despite this, it was unsettling to see people using Facebook and Twitter as a platform to say obnoxious things:
- The terrorist who was just arrested who lives on my street used to bully me when I was in middle school. #karma
- I went to high school with a terrorist. only in Ashland.
- Yes I live on the same street as the terrorist all over the news, yes I will be on channel 4
- Hometown classin’ it up with some terrorism.
Of course everyone is entitled to an opinion, especially on topics as controversial and emotionally-charged as this, but this type of collective reaction just seems crass to me. Again, I feel I must restate that I do not defend or support anything that Rezwan stood for as I’m sure my empathy for the bigger picture at hand will be construed as unpatriotic. I’m just incredibly turned off by the way Ashlanders are sensationalizing a news story, attempting to inch as close to it as possible without having any real connection to it at all.
I got a bad haircut this week and I’d be lying if I didn’t have a meltdown over it. You know those ugly crying phone calls to Mom? Yeah. The last time I lost it over a haircut was the day before September 11 and afterwards, I vowed to never get upset over something so trivial again. This latest story is sobering and brings me back to that place. People are suffering far worse in my own hometown today. I’m sorry for the whole situation that’s transpiring in Atown and hope that even if it’s twenty years from now, somewhere, somehow, we will have learned something good from this and come out as better people on the other end.