Tragic. But “coexistence” just doesn’t work in most of the world.
An American educator who marched for civil rights in the 1960s and advocated coexistence between Muslims and Jews when he moved to Israel died Tuesday after succumbing to wounds sustained in a Palestinian attack on a bus in Jerusalem two weeks ago. Richard Lakin, 76, died of wounds sustained on Oct. 13 when two Palestinian men boarded a bus in Jerusalem and began shooting and stabbing passengers. It was one of the bloodiest attacks in recent violence in which Palestinian attackers killed 11 Israelis. In that time, 55 Palestinians have been killed, including 35 identified by Israel as attackers and the rest in clashes with security forces.
Lakin was on the bus returning from a doctor’s appointment for minor back pain when “he was brutalized by two Arabs from east Jerusalem who got on a bus, shot him in the head, then stabbed him in the face, then stabbed him in the head” and continued stabbing him multiple times in the body, his son said.
It was one of many attacks in a month of violence triggered in part over Palestinian allegations of Israel changing long standing agreements at Jerusalem’s most sensitive holy site, charges Israel has strongly denied and said amount to incitement to violence. In an effort to lower tensions at the site, Israeli and Jordanian officials said Tuesday that new surveillance cameras should be installed within days at the shrine, with the goal of streaming footage live online for maximum transparency. Jordan serves as the custodian of the Muslim-administered site.
Lakin was originally from Newton, Massachusetts, and a longtime principal in Glastonbury, Connecticut. His Facebook page displayed an image of Israeli and Arab kids hugging under the word “coexist.”
When dealing with a mortal threat like violent Islam, a clear-eyed appreciation of both the possibilities (low) and danger (high) is the only sensible approach.