Friday, May 7, 2010

5-7-10: The Shelton Terrorist

Not having grown up in the All American Valley, I can't claim to be a native. I simply live there now. I'm writing this from my apartment in Derby, the smallest city (yes, it's a city!) in Connecticut. The house of Faisal Shahzad in Shelton is less than a mile from where I am currently sitting. The house is actually being foreclosed upon, which I'm guessing is a result of the same financial troubles Shahzad came upon that led him to become more religious, and eventually out for revenge against a system he grew to hate.

On a funnier note, here's an e-mail I got from my father after telling him how close Shahzad's old house is to me (NOTE: I moved to Derby after Shahzad and his family left Shelton):

Saw that. Also heard his house is being foreclosed upon. Probably a good buy with plenty of open space once the Shelton police, the FBI, the CIA, Homeland Security, Interpol, the New York City police, the Connecticut state police, and, less we forget, the Shelton housing authority (know [sic] idea how they're involved) get through with it.

I heard about Shahzad while driving down Bridgeport Avenue in Shelton on Tuesday, in fact. I had just left the gym (on that road), and was genuinely shocked to hear that, of all places, the guy lived so close by. The strange part was: I wasn't spooked by it. It was simply a strange coincidence. Had he recently lived in New York and New Jersey, I think I would have felt a bit more spooked by the fact that he was an American citizen working, in his mind, for a terrorist organization. But no, I was more surprised than anything to bother feeling scared.

I think people my age, I am 24 years old, have a peculiar way of looking at terrorism. I was a junior in high school when 9/11 happened. I remember it well. I remember when we invaded Afghanistan, then Iraq. I remember it being a time of immense national pride. I remember the feeling that we had to beat the terrorists by hiding our fear, because they were so far away. They still are, for the most part, despite the acts of one man who happened to be a U.S. citizen. Hell, there were even some people that doubted what he did was actually terrorism! I guess part of the requirements for being a terrorist are that you have to come here solely to perform the act. People thought Ted Kaczynski was just a nut, and that Timothy McVeigh was a monster, but how many times have you heard them called terrorists? What is it about the term makes it relate only to foreigners bent on destroying American society? I consider Kaczynski and McVeigh terrorists. I think the same of the Columbine shooters.

Home-grown terrorism is something a lot of people think is a matter of either insanity or intolerance, yet when we speak of the War on Terror, it's a foreign policy debate. What do people feel about Shahzad, then? He's not a native to our land, but he was a naturalized citizen. Where does he fit into the mix?

He's a terrorist with an American passport, folks. Live with it. We're just lucky he's really bad at it.

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