Jonah Goldberg is the only columnist I have seen who follows the twisted evil at the core of this week’s foiled suicide bombing by the Arab teen-ager seeking to fulfill a teen-age boy’s fantasy: “Palestinians’ use of kiddy bombers appalling.” Goldberg writes:
Hussam Abdu is what the kids today – and yesterday – call a loser. Reports say he’s 14 or 16 years old, but that he looks like he could be 10. Everyone in the Abdu family says he’s gullible and easily misled. The kids at school pick on him, calling him a “dwarf.” To say he has trouble with girls would be a compliment.
Like most boys, but especially miserable ones, Hussam had day dreams of being a hero. He wanted to meet girls. He wanted to prove the bullies were wrong about him. So, when the offer came to strap 18 pounds of explosives to his body to blow up some Israeli soldiers, Hussam leapt at it. If he succeeded, they told him, he could have sex – right away – with 72 virgins in paradise and he’d be a hero…
At the Israeli checkpoint where the heroes and patriots of the Palestinian cause wanted the boy to vaporize himself, he got scared. In the eyes of his handlers, he no doubt “panicked” and “lost his nerve.” Less evil people might say he merely came to his senses. Whatever. The good news is that he didn’t detonate himself, which would have killed Israeli soldiers and wounded many Palestinian civilians.
Now, here’s the thing. If this were an after-school special in which grown-ups pressured a 16-year-old kid to do drugs or have “unprotected” sex, a lot of people in America – and certainly in Europe – would be livid. Certainly, if a bunch of men pressured some girl out of having an abortion the clever cheese-and-cracker set would be speechless with moral outrage.
Well, this is the new peer pressure in the Middle East. And, it seems to me, bullying a kid into self-vaporization and murder is worse than teasing a girl into an eating disorder. Call me crazy.