In war on terror, enemy may be one of ours
It was a whole lot more understandable when the terrorists came from Over There.
Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan: God only knows what crazy notions were being stuffed in their heads at some radical madrasah halfway around the world!
Now how should we react when the latest suspect lives next door?
Marcos Alonso Zea hasn't been convicted of anything. We presume his innocence, of course. But the American-born 25-year-old was arrested on Friday at his family's home in Brentwood and accused of being a suburban wannabe Islamic jihadist. Authorities say he plotted to join al-Qaida and travel to the Middle East, intent on killing people in the relatively secular nation of Yemen.
Why would anyone want to do such a thing?
Whatever may have motivated young Marcos, he is in some real sense one of ours. That's what early evidence suggests anyway. He attended Suffolk Community College. He has a brother in the U.S. Air Force. He seems to have spent a lot of time staring at a laptop computer. His parents came to Long Island from Spanish-speaking Guatemala and Colombia. With a bio like that one, how could you possibly tell him from thousands of other young local men?
He was raised in the places that we were raised. He attended the same schools that we did. No doubt he watched the same movies and TV shows. Look at him in that cap-and-gown graduation shot, posed in front of a large American flag. What hints do you see there?
1. Finds a cause.
2. Gets famous.
3. Shocks the neighbors.
4. Sees the world.
5. Goes away for a long, long time.
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LONG ISLANDERS OF THE WEEK: THE SIEMENS KIDS
We have some smart young people around here. We get more proof every time the winners are announced at one of those brainy student contests. The latest are the eight regional finalists in the 2013 Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology. Eight! Eight from George W. Hewlett and Herricks high schools and The Wheatley School. It isn't about the $100,000 in grand-prize money. It's about students who have very good reason to feel very proud. Despite all the complaining we do about the state of local education, it nice to know that somebody's learning something around here.
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