The two knife-wielding beasts who recently butchered and beheaded a young British soldier on a public street in London were not the face of Africa, or the face of Islam.
They were the face of an ancient barbarism loose in the world — an evil that knows no nationality or creed, no race or place, but which must be defeated by whatever means of persuasion or degree of force is required if civil life is to remain a possibility anywhere on Earth.
No punishment fits such a crime as theirs. No mercy is warranted, and no courtroom for a stage. Dispose of them, one is tempted to say, and be done with it
As a general rule, due process is to be preferred. But I’d argue there are exceptions: violent abuse or sexual violation of small children, or the deliberate, prolonged mistreatment of helpless individuals of any age.
The horrific London crime falls in that category.
No doubt apologists will be heard for the two Nigerian-born immigrants who committed the monstrous deed.
Maybe they were raised in poverty or had no education, or were denied opportunity, or perhaps were treated unkindly by the English people. Or had been smoking hashish. Or maybe just wanted their names and pictures in the news.
Never mind their reasons. Their behavior defines them.
It gives further proof, if any were needed, of the inability of civilized people to insulate themselves from pervasive ruin elsewhere in the world.
When failed nations sink away in violence and despair, propelling legions of refugees into societies where they have no means or hope of succeeding, bitterness is the inevitable outcome.
That was the case in 2005 when riots by uneducated and jobless youths in the suburbs of Paris and other large French cities, mostly occupied by Muslim Arab and North African immigrants, prompted the declaration of a three-month state of emergency.
Schools, churches, a police station and other buildings were set afire. And in a single night and morning across the country, 215 cars and buses were burned.
In August 2011, several London areas were scenes of damaging riots. As in the French ordeal six years earlier, the youths involved were largely jobless and poorly educated — sure predictors of trouble.
London is one of the world’s most ethnically diverse cities. More than one-third of its residents (37 percent) are immigrants.
In the aftermath of the May 22 public slaying, Londoners may be forgiven for wondering if they are on a demographic trajectory that could lead to a larger crisis like the one in France eight years ago.
The hope must be that the horror on the street in their city was an aberration, not a harbinger.