Spreading fear and changing the way we live

Vice President Joe Biden spoke at the funeral service for slain campus police officer Sean Collier today, a gesture of respect for which I enthusiastically commend him.  Much of what Biden said was moving and appropriate, but he said a few strange things, too.

At one point, the Vice President referred to Collier’s murderers, the Tsarnaev brothers, as “two twisted, perverted, cowardly knock-off jihadis.”  What’s a “knock-off jihadi?”  They sure seem like energetic and committed Islamic jihadists.  We still don’t have a full picture of the process by which the older brother was radicalized.  But it seems no effort will be spared to burnish his credentials as a freelance lone wolf, even at the service held to honor one of his victims.

Biden also said that these terrorists failed, because the objective of terrorism is to sow terror and change the way its targets live, and the Tsarnaevs failed to do that.  Really?  It sure didn’t look that way to anyone who followed breaking news all day last Friday.  There was terror all over the place.  The entire city of Boston was locked down.  

The Vice President could be understood as saying the terrorists achieved no permanent change in our lives.  In that case, he’d better talk to New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg pronto, because Bloomberg is running around saying that “our laws and our interpretation of the Constitution, I think, have to change.”