Letter to the Editor

May 01, 2009

No interpretation needed

To the editor:No interpretation needed

In which bizarro world is it possible to wonder, even for a moment, whether the tagging of a swastika on Washington County's only gathering for Jewish residents might be merely a "prank?"

Moral courage requires that we call a thing what it is, and not seek to distort, downgrade, or inflate reality as it is readily accessible for us to understand. Of course, doubt in the face of a fact is always an option, regardless of whether such doubt is credible or not.

My objection is that such expressions of doubt in the given context represent a lack of fortitude and responsibility. For thoughtful people today, a swastika marked on a synagogue represents only one thing: hatred and violation.


It is especially important for responsible, morally aware individuals to recognize unambiguous acts of symbolic violence. If there is a sense that this would be a rush to judgment, I can hardly imagine how such an argument might be made.

Beyond that clarification, it may be best to treat whoever perpetrated this as virtual nonentities. The same practice would serve us well when it comes to perpetrators of other forms of violence or terror: The identities of those who willfully destroy in our community are mentioned only as necessary, with no fawning attention to the motives of those who violate the laws and norms of civil society. This would be a proper consequence for anyone attacking people who strive for and contribute good in our community through service and devotion to the God of their understanding.

There is a time and a way to ask why individuals do such things, but that would be a small part of the aftermath of an arrest, not wholesale speculation in the face of a crime scene.

Eric Norgard

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