Mafia Nuns Could Totally Rule the World
I am convinced that the power of suggestion has much more strength than actual demonstrations of brute force.
When I was a kid, I could not understand terrorism. It made absolutely no sense to me. Why would someone do something considered to be particularly heinous by the majority of humankind, and then send a letter actually claiming responsibility? And, secondly, if they had admitted to it, why weren’t these people thrown in prison immediately? No one explained to me that terrorists like the Symbionese Liberation Army didn’t sit around at registered addresses watching The Love Boat and waiting for the police to politely escort them to a cell in the local jail.
In elementary school, you learn that it’s wise to stay out of trouble. Especially when you go to a Catholic school with nuns wielding rulers that never seem to be used for measuring. You do your best to walk the straight and narrow, and if, for some inexplicable reason, you commit one of the Deadly Sins (which was a much longer list according to the nuns than the Vatican version), then you make darn sure that you never admit to it.
Mind you, I never once saw a nun use one of those rulers, and none of my troublemaking friends ever actually reported getting paddled when sent to the Principal’s Office. But the rumors were prevalent.
However, every time I happened to overhear a news report about a plane being hijacked or hostages being taken, my understanding of human behavior based on my observations at school seemed to become less reliable.
“No one has yet claimed responsibility for the bombing.”
“Well, of course they haven’t,” I would think to myself. Geez. Is that all you need to do to be a news anchor – state the obvious? Let’s think about this. If Mother Superior could paddle you for cheating on a spelling test, what horrible consequences would be inflicted on someone who admitted to planting a bomb in a marketplace?
Then the next day, someone would “claim responsibility,” and I would be completely perplexed. Why would they do that? Especially if they weren’t Catholic and didn’t believe in confession? What was the point? You don’t brag about committing crimes (unless it was to a priest), because then you get caught. Not that I ever committed crimes – or broke any rules for that matter. But I did, according to my mother, have some Mafia relatives dangling off of a distant branch of the family tree. And the Mafia has a whole different approach to advertising its misconduct, if you know what I mean.
Now that terrorism seems even more prevalent – or I just listen to more news – I get the point of the responsibility claims, but I understand human behavior even less. Why do terrorists think they are going to get what they want by making people hate them even more?
Comedian Jeff Dunham’s puppet, Achmed the Dead Terrorist, pretty much sums up the effectiveness of this strategy:
“I can’t wait to see Santa Claus. I sit on his knee, I tell him what I want, then I blow him up!”
And so, I submit to you that a group of women dressed like penguins and about as brutal as Oprah, might have known a little bit more about getting people to behave the way you want. Of course, you might argue that they were merely dealing with 5-10 year olds. And my response would then be, “Have you tried to teach a class of 22 5-year olds lately?” I think you’d rather negotiate with terrorists.