Letter From New York 11 16 2015 From Paris to Beirut to Minneapolis…

Hudson River. Hudson Valley. Paris attacks. French manhunt. IS. Raqqa. Alabama. Michigan. Minneapolis shooting.  Jamar Clark.  Ferguson. Beirut. Lebanese bombings.

It is Monday and the sun glistens off the Hudson River as I ride south, into the city for a meeting today and a lunch tomorrow and then back north to celebrate my birthday on Wednesday.  Another year has passed, this one having moved past me more quickly than any other year.

My mother said often that time moves more quickly the older you get and it appears that she was right, in this instance.

It is a beautiful day in the Hudson Valley, a day so bright and cheerful it feels as if everything was right everywhere in the world.

Of course, it’s not.  The world is still reeling from the Paris attacks.  A manhunt is on throughout France and Belgium looking for a man believed to be one of the attackers who escaped in the chaos following the shootings and suicide bombings. Many have been arrested and taken into custody. 

A Belgian, now believed to be in Syria, is said to be the mastermind. He is 27 years old.

A video was released, purportedly from IS, saying more Paris style attacks would be coming, specifically naming Washington, DC as a target. Its authenticity is questionable and it does not have the high production values usually associated with IS videos. 

In retaliation, French jets, with help from the US, bombed Raqqa, the self-proclaimed capital of IS. There were at least twenty sorties.

Muslims across Europe are fearful of more backlash because of this and they are, unfortunately, right.  The Governors of Alabama and Michigan have declared their states are closed to Syrian refugees.

At the same time, Obama is ruling out ground forces against IS.  Hollande says he going to speak with both Obama and Putin in the next few days to discuss the situation.

On Thursday, bombs went off in Lebanon, killing 48.  There was no great outcry or notice until Paris.  Now people are noticing and vigils are being held for the Lebanese victims of IS, too.

France has declared itself at war and Hollande is asking for three months of emergency measures.  The US Military has told service members they are not allowed to go to France on leave.

Obama has declared this is a war on civilization.  It is.

I glide south, seagulls swooping over the river in graceful circles.  A tanker inches southward.  We are nearing the city and it becomes more industrial.

Minneapolis is my hometown. There was a shooting there last night.  A young black man was shot and is, according to his family, brain dead.  Witnesses say he was handcuffed and on the ground when he was shot.  The police report a different story.  Black Lives Matter Minneapolis has gathered in protest and is occupying the lobby of the Police Precinct in North Minneapolis where the shooting took place.

North Minneapolis has long had a reputation as a dangerous place.  When I was in my twenties I worked there in an alternative high school.  One of the students warned me against wearing the expensive watch I had as well as the ring I wore.  People were planning to relieve me of them.

People are asking if Minneapolis is having its “Ferguson” moment.  Hard to think of Minneapolis, my hometown, as a “Ferguson” kind of place.

But violence is everywhere and we are becoming so aware of it.

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