The February 13th New York Times online contained fifteen "Pictures of the Day". Their #1, lead photograph was what you see to the right, with the following description (emphasis added):
Security officials in Lebanon said Imad Mugniyah, 45, a senior Hezbollah military commander, was killed by a car bomb on Tuesday night in Damascus, Syria. Mr. Mugniyah had been accused in a series of bombings, hijackings and kidnappings during the 1980s and 1990s, including the 1983 bombing of a Marine barracks in Beirut that killed 241 American service members. Mr. Mugniyah's father, Fayez, left, and grandfather held each other during a wake in Beirut.
(Many thanks to Quid Nimis.)
We are sure that nearly every serial mass murderer throughout time has had friends and family. Once upon a time, they would often have been broadly shunned and shamed for not doing more to bring an end to the ongoing violence and mayhem their loved ones were perpetrating.
As a result, those who knew these vile men and women would sometimes do the right thing. The Unabomber, Theodore Kaczynski, was finally brought to justice when his brother recognized his rambling, ranting "Manifesto" and turned him in.
At the very least, these people would not have been held up publicly in an attempt to elicit sympathy for their loss when the murderers they knew were finally, thankfully meted sanction.
It makes those that know them far less likely to assist in ending their reigns of terror if they are consoled -- rather than criticized -- by the media.
(And allows for and excuses further atrocities -- like today's Hezbollah announcement that they have declared "open war" on Israel, who may or may not have had a hand in Mugniyah's end.
If we are to feel sorry for them, after all, we should also cede to them any form of retaliation they see fit. When evil is excused, all bets are off.)
Imad Mugniyah was what the Times here described as a Hezbollah "military leader", which means he was a terrorist mass assassin, and was so for two decades. Everything painted in broad strokes in the Times' description of him is in detail quite true -- he was an exceedingly bad guy, a truly evil creature.
Does the New York Times really expect us to feel empathy for the family of such a man, for the loss of their little boy? Apparently it does -- more is the pity.
I would be curious to know how many photos of the mourning families of American soldiers the NYT has made their lead Picture of the Day.
Soldiers who were dispatched to dispatch the likes of Imad Mugniyah.
Instead, we get from the Times an ongoing, rolling body count reported to affect a retreat in Iraq, and 32 straight days of front page Abu Ghraib stories intended to demean and diminish these men and women.
What an outstanding publication the New York Times has become.