by Reid Fitzsimons
The neighbor up the road, a guy also born in 1958, stopped by while walking his dog the other week. We stood outside for quite a while discussing things big and small, personal and global. When the subject became ISIS, the San Bernardino shootings, etc he related a disquieting anecdote from the late 1970s. He was working at a gas station and engaged a customer in conversation, this being a time when intelligent young people were curious about the world and didn’t just accept the ramblings of their sociology professor as incontrovertible truth. Our neighbor recounted saying something such as humans cause so much conflict and war, shouldn’t religion serve as a way to counteract violent instincts. This customer turned out to be a Muslim of South-Eastern European origin, I think he said Albanian, and agreed that religion should be a means to achieve peace. He then added, in a conversational tone, once all non-believers were eradicated and only Muslims populated the earth, there would finally be peace. Not unexpectedly, this sentiment impressed our neighbor.