I was shocked and appalled following a weekend incident involving a man from suburban Morton Grove whose contempt for the local mosque made him think he could pull out his high-powered air rifle and fire shots at the building.
But the more I learn about this incident, and another one that also occurred this weekend in west suburban Lombard, the more my shock becomes contempt.
CONTEMPT, THAT IS, for those elements of our society who think that their despicable actions are somehow justifiable. As though they think they’re fighting the good fight for our society by letting their mini-minds run amok.
Now before anyone starts sending me their rants telling me that this bigotry is nothing like the past, I will concede one point. It seems that officials are taking these incidents seriously.
In the old days, the authorities likely would have placed blame on the Muslims for even being here, and provoking the anger of others against them.
Take the incident in Morton Grove, where it turns out that the man who fired shots at the Muslim Education Center near his home is actually a village official.
HE’S NOT THE mayor or a village trustee or anything like that. He is someone who serves on one of the village committees and takes an interest in municipal issues – all for no pay.
Which is what caused his attorney to tell the Chicago Tribune, with a straight face, that the man was a, “pillar of the community.”
I shudder in disgust at the thought. Although what bothers me is some of the Internet commentary I have read about this issue that makes it clear some people are more than willing to accept this man as the “pillar” and the mosque as the “problem.”
That attitude is what is wrong with our society. Which is why I was pleased to see that a Cook County judge on Monday, while setting bond at a low-enough level that he was able to post it and remain free while his criminal case is pending, ordered him to undergo an anger management evaluation and to submit to electronic monitoring.
LET’S HOPE THIS same serious attitude remains throughout the legal proceedings in this particular case.
Yet this attitude isn’t even an isolated incident. For it seems that in Lombard (a town I’m familiar with because I had an uncle and aunt who lived there for many years), there was an incident Sunday at the College Preparatory School of America – an Islamic school.
Somebody threw a plastic bottle at the building, a bottle that had been filled with several potentially-volatile chemicals. Somebody envisioned an explosion that would have caused damage to the building – which had students inside at the moment of impact.
Fortunately, there was no explosion. The bottle didn’t even break. A part of me wants to remember the ineptitude of the “Pop Bottle Bomber” incident in the 1970’s Disco-era comedy ‘Car Wash,” and make a joke or two.
YET IT WOULD truly be crude to recall a cinematic moment that ended with a bottle of urine being smashed.
Although I’m sure the terror felt by the people in that facility when they heard a loud bang makes any gag inappropriate. For all I know, the person(s) who concocted the bottle probably are getting a thrill from learning they caused a scare.
It also seems that they’ve moved up a notch, since Lombard police told the Chicago Sun-Times that past incidents at the school have merely involved graffiti.
Which makes me wonder if we’re going to get another incident or two in coming days – we are in the period of Ramadan, after all, that runs through Saturday. I’m sure at least some of the crackpot types are offended that those “Muslims” have a sacred holiday that they know nothing about.