What Would You Do?

So you live in a nice quiet suburb. Like Bethesda, Maryland. With your lovely wife, Lisa, and two wonderful kids, Adam and Sarah. It’s a good life.

But there are some in your neighborhood who feel aggrieved. Let’s say they are upset about the newly-installed speed bumps which might damage their cars. Or they are perturbed that speed bumps were not installed so they fear for the safety of their children. Or they are angry because the city denied their application to tear down an old house and build a new McMansion in its place. Or they are mad because the city approved a plan to tear down an old house and build a McMansion in its place. Whatever the reason, they believe they have legitimate grievances.

These folks have lived under these intolerable conditions for decades. Now they are “desperate.” What should they do?

They send suicide bombers into your neighborhood, blowing up your homes, your schools, your markets, your places of worship. Thousands of your friends, your neighbors, your relatives are killed and maimed. Thank God you and Lisa and little Adam and Sarah are spared.

You offer the aggrieved their own streets with or without speed bumps, with or without McMansions. But the aggrieved are not satisfied.

So they indiscriminately launch rockets into your neighborhood. You and your family have ninety seconds to reach shelter. Once again, thousands of your neighbors are killed or maimed. Again, thank God, you and Lisa and Adam and Sarah escape injury.

This time you offer the aggrieved their very own neighborhood. Right next to yours. And you agree to forcibly remove all the non-aggrieved from their neighborhood to your own neighborhood. And you do just that. The aggrieved are no longer “occupied” by you or your kind. Still, they are not appeased. It seems they not only want their own neighborhood. They want yours too. And folks in other, safer neighborhoods, like Chevy Chase, suggest it’s all your fault for moving to Bethesda in the first place.

Now the aggrieved send folks onto your streets to randomly butcher you and your neighbors with knives and axes. This has been going on for months now. Yet, it’s not even mentioned in the Washington Post. So far, you and Lisa are ok. Adam too. But little Sarah….

Day in, day out, pregnant women are slaughtered in front of their children. Old men bleed out on the streets near your house. The folks comfortably ensconced in nearby Chevy Chase and the powers that-be in Washington, D.C. could care less. Bethesda blood is cheap. Always has been. People outside of your neighborhood just go about their everyday business, as nonchalantly as the Polish people did in World War II, casually walking on scaffolding above the Warsaw Ghetto, ignoring the scenes of slaughter below. Friends and relatives and strangers outside of Bethesda even make excuses for the murderers. “Desperate people do desperate things.”

What would you do?

All right, you might say, what if the aggrieved grievances were more serious than such trivial matters as speed bumps and McMansions? What if, for example, the aggrieved truly believed that you had stolen their ancestral homeland in Bethesda, destroyed their olive trees, restricted their travel, subjected them to humiliation, and otherwise deprived them of their civil rights. Let’s take it one step further. Let’s assume that some or all or these grievances are true. Would that justify a seventy-year campaign of terror and mayhem in your neighborhood? Your neighborhood. Not someone else’s. Against your kids. Not someone’s else’s. Your Adam. Your Sarah.

What would you do?

Would you keep quiet because you don’t want to cause “trouble?” Would you avoid the subject because it is “politics” and friends don’t discuss politics, especially not on Facebook? Would you maintain friendships with friends and relatives who are sympathetic to the aggrieveds’ circumstances, if not their murderous “tactics?” What more could you offer the aggrieved that would really satisfy them, especially when they daily march through their own neighborhoods shouting “Death to the Bethesdans?”

If you lived outside of Bethesda, would you just ignore the whole thing because it didn’t really affect you? Wait until it reaches Potomac, where you live…wait until your own family is in immediate danger? Or would you demand in no uncertain terms that the President of the United States do everything in his or her power to protect you and your precious family? Remember. This is happening to you and your children. This is 9/11 or San Bernadino or Boston or Paris or Jerusalem in your neighborhood. This is really happening.

What would you do?

What are you doing?

If you are mumbling:

What can I do?

Please read.

About the Author
Steve Frank is retired after a 30-year career as an appellate lawyer with the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. His writings on Israel, the law and architecture have appeared in numerous publications including the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, the Baltimore Sun, the Jerusalem Post, the Jewish News Syndicate and Moment magazine.