Suprising… and Not So Much

After a hail of French police gunfire relieved humanity of the noxious presence of Mohamed Merah, the 23-year-old Algerian-Frenchman who murdered seven people, including three children, in cold blood and declared himself ready to enter paradise, his soul must have really been surprised. If, that is, he had a soul and wasn’t just some demon in human guise.

Unsurprising for those of us back in this world was the revelation that when Mr. Merah was holed up in a building, his mother had refused to urge her son to surrender; or that, after Mr. Merah’s dispatching, his brother told police he was “very proud” of Mohamed and “approve[s] of what he did”; or that the murderer’s father plans to sue the French government over his son’s death.

Even the act of Lorraine Collin, a 56-year-old high school teacher at Gustave Flaubert High School in Rouen, Normandy, who asked her class to observe a moment of silence in memory of the deceased murderer, was not terribly surprising; it was pretty much par for the contorted conscience course.


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