Compassion for victims, not for perpetrators

This banner helps me frame what I’ve been trying to say since Monday.

Boston bombings represent a sorrowful scene of what happens everyday in Syria. Do accept our condolences.
Syrian Revolution hold a banner in support of Boston.

I don’t have compassion for the perpetrators of vile acts.

My compassion extends to the victims of those acts and the environments in which both victims and perpetrators live. Given similar context, environment, and social structure, the only thing that separates a victim from a perpetrator is compassion: perpetrators do not have it.

In other words, responding to an act of terror by saying “we must have compassion and understanding” for the perpetrator doesn’t cut it for me. I have compassion for the situations (Syria, for instance) and for people in general (perhaps those holding the banner), but I will not waste my compassion on those who would turn their own victimization into an act of destruction. Why? Because out of the millions and millions of victims on this planet, only the most cowardly seek to perpetrate their problems on others.

I will not waste my compassion on current psychopaths, rather I will use my compassion and empathy to prevent societies from creating them in the future.

The temperature this morning registered a nice and crisp 28° Fahrenheit, which is officially our first frost of the year. Having grown up in Vermont, it’s very strange to be waiting until after Thanksgiving to mention frosts. Maybe, though, it has very little to do with latitude and more to do with climate shifts overall.

Two weeks ago, there was a day in Boston where the temperature was 60° Fahrenheit. Everyone seemed so happy to be able to walk to work and along the sidewalks in their skirts and short-sleeves and baseball hats. And why not? Winters are hard in New England. Surely we deserve a break or two.

Seeing the frosted-over lawn this morning, however, reminded me that it’s been a number of years since there’s been snow on the ground much before Xmas, and last year we were hard-pressed to find any day worth playing in the snow.

I’m worried about the climate, but I’m not worried because of the fate of the earth. I’m worried for my son. What will his winter memories be? Will he have the same pleasures we had as kids? Running through waist-deep snow just to jet down the other side of an unknown hill? If climate change needs to be reversed, then we need to reverse it — not for the fate of all humanity — for the fate of those closest to us.