When Compassion Reigns

This column starts off provocatively questioning the appropriateness of focusing on the age of the young boy killed by the Boston bombers…

Let us suppose that the bombs had, by chance, killed three people whose lives, on examination, turned out to have been less than exemplary, even reprehensible…Would the killings then have been any the less reprehensible? Or suppose the little boy had been not 8, but a man of 38? On what grounds would the latter have been a lesser crime or a lesser tragedy?

…but it moves on to more general points about the use of children in political argumentation. You should read the whole thing, especially the last section, in which he opines on the fact that a former leader of the Labour Party found these words, written by a 12 year-old Indian girl to the Indian prime minister, moving: “I am writing on behalf of all children…I don’t think bombs protect anybody. You don’t get power by possessing arsenals.”

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