This is not America

On Saturday morning my wife Michele and I brought drug store items over to the 1310 Kitchen and Bar to participate with owner and chef Jenn Crovato’s effort together with the Georgetown Inn to accumulate donated supplies for the approximately twenty-five hundred Afghanistan refugees anticipated to settle in the Washington, D.C. area in the next few weeks. We were escorted into the storage room by one of the hotel’s front desk personnel. She was from Afghanistan and thanked us profusely for our assistance. She then started to cry.

The young woman explained to us that her husband was trapped in the airport in Kabul and she did not know at this point whether he would be able to leave the country. She stated that she had worked for the Americans in her place of birth and that the future for her and her husband was terrifying for people in her situation in Afghanistan with the Taliban in charge. She was able to get out under the Special Immigrant Visa program which is what her husband is also using in his effort to escape. She told us that the remainder of her family back home is moving every couple of days in order not to be killed because of her prior service to the United States.

We also began to cry.

Of course, most United States citizens wanted our military out of Afghanistan. A twenty year war is way too long. I shared the feeling that if the residents of that country could not defend themselves at this point in history as we are about to mark two decades after the 9/11 terrorist’s attack, then it was time to go. However, I have to say that I am disgusted regarding the manner in which we have turned our backs on those that fought with us. The entire troop withdrawal appears to be incompetently planned and executed. This is not how America behaves.

I had the exact same reaction last week when I learned that fifteen year old Kemon Payne was stabbed and killed by a sixteen year old outside of KIPP DC’s Public Charter High School. Both boys were students there, with the victim attending from preschool. The Washington Post reported that the murder resulted from an altercation that started with a friend of Mr. Payne bumping into the suspect.

The nation’s capital is currently experiencing the highest murder rate in sixteen years. The Post story about this incident included this paragraph:

“In the midst of the scrum, police said, Kemon, who started classes last week at KIPP DC College Preparatory public charter school, was stabbed twice in the chest. He died at a hospital. He was the third person to be killed in a matter of hours in D.C.”

I simply do not know what has happened to values in our land. We must get back to a focus on teaching the difference between right and wrong that are the bedrock of our society. In addition, unless parents and the adults in leadership positions are leading by example, then life for us all will never improve.

It is time to wake up to what is important in the world.

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