Comments: 211

  1. It would be nice if we knew how to rehabilitate terrorists and other criminals, but we should not overestimate our ability to do so and put lives of innocent people at risk, as happened in this case.

  2. @Beliavsky Quote from the article: "The injustice of somebody murdered while organizing for criminal justice feels impossibly sharp. Jack was in a room of people, some on day release from prison, discussing possibilities for penal reform." Let's see. Prisoners, convicted of serious crimes, on day release, to discuss possibilities for penal reform. Laughable. The world has gone mad.

  3. @Eva Who would have better insight into where reforms might help than those who have been part of the system? And doing well enough to be studying and part of a day release program?

  4. @Tucson "doing well enough to be studying". Yes studying how to recommence his terrorism at the earliest opportunity. Our mercy and desire for reform makes us vulnerable to fakirs that have reformed not at all.

  5. I wholeheartedly agree that your friend's death should not be used as an excuse for more draconian sentencing, or denying early release in many cases. However, the same is not true for prisoners such as Khan. Those convicted of terrorist acts should be scrutinized extremely carefully. It's doubtful that extremist ideology can be changed in such a short time, if ever. Khan should have had a life sentence.

  6. @Bernard Bernard, I'm with you. What I don't understand is not only this instance of prisoner release, but the crime he was convicted of, which, if implemented successfully, might have resulted in the deaths of dozens, or even hundreds, of people at the London Stock Exchange (with the probably maiming of that many more), and how that warranted only a 12-year sentence (release for good behavior, I guess, after six years). Surely someone who is willing to kill hundreds of people is already a mass murderer in his soul, even if he has not successfully carried out his mission. While you can't incarcerate him for thinking such things, when he takes actions to implement them, as this guy apparently did, a life sentence would seem almost mandatory as a consequence of exercising just plain common sense. If you punish attempted murder less severely than actual murder, given the psychological make-up of the criminal involved you may only be rewarding him for having failed in his mission.

  7. @Bernard. Life imprisonment was never applied to Irish terrorists in the recent troubles. How would America have responded if it had ?

  8. @Bernard My takeaway from this article is that early release of prisoners is a clear and present danger. To set the record straight, victims of crimes are the true victims, the perpetrators—and those who aid, abet and participate in crime with them—are criminals. I hope all the progressive prosecutors--and Democratic Presidential candidates--will give serious thought to what it means to eliminate bail, reduce sentences and allow criminals to run loose in our communities. Who is responsible for post-release crimes committed by those released early? An apology to their future victims will be of small consolation for those who are harmed; and how about compensation and restitution for the actual victims? Early release or release without bail of thousands of criminals is a recipe for increased crime, and increased numbers of victims. (Check federal statistics for US recidivism rates—very sobering.) Virtually no criminals are forced to commit their crimes; there is such a thing as free will. It's simple: Just don't do the crime if you can't do the time.

  9. A lovely and moving piece. Thank you.

  10. So deeply deeply sorry for your (our) loss of this outstanding person. One is reminded of Donne’s line, “any mans death diminishes me” which seems more than apt in this case.

  11. Thank you.

  12. He is gone but never forgotten.

  13. Thank you for this remembrance.

  14. A beautiful tribute, but as is so often the case, so PC it misses the point of "Mister" Khan's motives: it would appear that the best retraining programs are no match for radical Islam and it's violent colonialism.

  15. @TMDJS It also didn’t help that he was released before appearing before a release board.

  16. @TMDJS In reading more, it looks like he was not able to get re-training.

  17. @TMDJS Jack’s father seems to disagree--and surely you would not dismiss his grief or his message with a trivial “PC” comeback?

  18. This is lovely and certainly the most important thing here is to remember him. But we should also be frustrated by the “system” which allowed this dangerous prisoner to walk out of jail without parole assessment or monitoring. Boris Johnson is absolutely correct in his response. And if liberals want to bemoan the fact that we can rehabilitate terrorists through poetry, well then be prepared for many more years of Trump and Boris.

  19. @Jason Oh, right . . . Resentment and anger really solves and resolves all “issues.” You seem to believe that voting for people like Johnson and Trump in imitation of the characteristics of those nations we most look down on (because they are arbitrary and capricious in dealing with their populations) will somehow provide a solution for us. Never has in the past and never will in the future. Can you come up with a better solution than responding with pique to madness?

  20. @Jason Jason, what you are not assessing is how many lives are saved by rehabilitation that would be lost if such programs were not in place. By this I mean not only the lives of the rehabilitated, but also of family members who depend upon them, and others in their community who the rehabilitated go on to serve. I think the appropriate response is to shape policy based on a whole picture, not vengeful reaction. To do otherwise is to treat like with like.

  21. "Boris Johnson is absolutely correct in his response." This man cares not a fig. He is our Donald Trump. It is shameful.to support his views on any matter. Tories like Johnson massively cut the police and privatised probation services.

  22. Thank you for this piece, for reminding us that there are (still) caring, selfless, loving human beings in this crazy world, folks working—and even sacrificing themselves—for the greater good.

  23. What a lovely tribute to a person I may have entirely missed, even with the news coverage this tragedy is receiving. Having read this, I am quite sure I will never forget Jack Merritt’s name or his story. Prison reform and rehabilitation of our incarcerated citizens is of critical importance to our nation, a step towards restoring our eroding humanity and reviving the potential of so many.

  24. @Karen I am a lawyer. How do we deradicalise those already radicalised? An answer keep them from all others similar prisoners? For ever and then allocate non existent resources to effect a change? With budget austerity no chance.

  25. @Karen I think we should also remember what I believe Eldridge Cleaver once said: "How can I be rehabilitated when I was never habilitated?"

  26. There are clearly problems in the implementation of the policy - but the objectives need not be changed. To conflate the two, advances the terrorists' objectives and a true leaders should recognize that. Improvements to screening - and to opportunities - would both respond to and honour Jack Merritt's death.

  27. @Gerard ... Hope improvements to screening will occur. It's been several decades-long in searching for them

  28. I believe we are all really connected as one organism: every human on earth, part of one living organism. The terrorist and the poet were and are brothers. The terrorist a cancer cell within the body; the poet a beautiful strand of DNA. in this instance, the cancer won out. This makes it clear that we must protect our universal organism from the cancer. Time to radiate this particular cancer cell, or at least separate it permanently from the body whole. This is not vengeance; it is elementary survival.

  29. @Scottapottomus But in removing a tumor, you have to be careful not to destroy healthy cells lest the whole body be compromised. Wield that scalpel with care.

  30. @Scottapottomus Best to find the cause and treat that.

  31. Beautiful!

  32. It made me cry. What irony in this senseless killing. I will always remember what Jack Merritt stood for--human goodness, trying to help others.

  33. Amen!!! Behave in ways enlightened. Do not succumb to the easy false conclusion!

  34. Sorry, but i can't quite agree with david merritt. Detaining people unnecessarily is too loose a judgement call as, i believe, is plainly evidenced by this attack. For me the only difference between a murderer and one guilty of attempted murder, even such as far removed from occurring as the planning of the stock exchange attack. It's simply a matter of circumstance, whatever led to the failure of the plan. The mental intent is the same. Society deserves more protection from these perps and wannabee perps than do the perps/wannabees deserve from society. Better safe than sorry may be trite but it fits.

  35. @rivvir You conflate attempted murder and planning of attacks. Attempted murder involves action, an attempt to carry out a plan. But until a plan is actually attempted, there is always the possibility an individual may decide not to act.

  36. @rivvir Perhaps there is a difference between people who grow up in poverty and get caught up in a criminal world and people who are indoctrinated and become terrorists. And even those who are indoctrinated were someone's innocent child. And many can be de-programmed. Having said that I, too, would have very strong criteria for determining who should be paroled from either group.

  37. @Independent nah. Murder is murder. When you’re willing to threaten bodily harm or death for material gain, you’ve broken the societal contract.

  38. This thoughtful piece emphasizes the importance of putting a face to a life so ruthlessly lost. Thank you.

  39. Terrible waste of a good man. Teared up over here.

  40. Charity is a good thing but it never justifies reckless disregard for real dangers. The man who killed Merritt was as dangerous as a cornered rattlesnake and should not have been released from prison.

  41. @Casual Observer not the point of this essay...and it's not charity being talked about, it is about recognizing individual instances of courage and bravery and working towards a better world and having continued faith in that despite the cruelty that also exists.

  42. @Casual Observer Charity is also about giving people a second chance which in the US is seen as inadequate punishment. So we lock up everyone here for decades and think that is necessary and right. We are a sick country.

  43. Merritt wanted Kahn to enjoy and be enabled to trust in the golden rule. He simply did not appreciate how dangerous some people can be even when one offers a friendly hand. Merritt was obviously confident that he was following what he thought was good. His unwariness made him vulnerable.

  44. Thank you, Emma. Your words are heartfelt and touching. Such a tragic loss and reminder that Jack Merritt's work is more important than ever. I have to trust his life will inspire many - from this generation and beyond - to create the safer, saner, more loving world we know is possible. Of course it's now up to us to continue the blessing of his life, and make his memory a blessing too.

  45. @Seth Eisenberg "Heartfelt", "touching", "tragic", "inspire", "loving", "blessing" ... Such an emotional response to an issue that now obviously requires examination of the evidence and rational decision. We have several hundred former ISIS members in Europe or about to return. Now is not the time for lit candles and teddy bears.

  46. There are wonderful people in this world, selfless, generous, kind, always ready to understand, to forgive, to help those in need. And then there are also people like Donald J. Trump. . . .

  47. I knew it wouldn’t be any time before some lefty injected Trump into an argument that has NOTHING to do with him.

  48. @scott_thomas They can't help themselves. Especially if they are over 70 with cognitive decline they don't recognize.

  49. Wonderfully writeen, wonderfully inspirational, wonderfully sane, gracious, and articulate by the victim's father. And, wonderfully un-reactionary!

  50. I'm crying for the loss of your friend; for you, for his family, for his friends, for our world. We so need people like him. Thank you for sharing his beautiful life.

  51. You had me at “morning of unadulterated goodness.” This is a beautiful tribute to a good man whose life was extinguished by a convicted terrorist. We should not conflate social justice issues of incarceration for offenders of nonviolent crimes with punishments for terrorists. They are two completely separate categories. Given the current state of increasing opportunities for radicalization, the maximum penalty for terrorism offenses should be increased. The state must protect its citizens. A convicted terrorist, like Usman Khan, who plotted to bomb the London Stock Exchange and to establish a terrorist training camp, should never have been released halfway through his 16 year sentence, especially without a parole board review. That put the people in England at risk and that is unjust. According to a 1994 UN statement on terrorism, “Criminal acts intended or calculated to provoke a state of terror in the general public, a group of persons or particular persons for political persons are in any circumstances unjustifiable. . .” In 2018, 81 individuals in England were convicted of terrorism or terrorism-related activities. Maximum punishment is justified in cases of terrorism to protect the populace. Convicted terrorists pose a particular, specific and egregious threat to the populace and should be treated accordingly as a separate entity. May Jack Merritt rest in peace and I offer my condolences to the fortunate people in his life who loved him.

  52. This is hopefully read by many today as it is a reminder to all of the beauty in life in these dark times.

  53. Thank you, Emma, for sharing. Jack Merritt's commitment to "Learning Together" also to mind the recent Ken Burns special "College Behind Bars", and the many people working for prisoner rehabilitation and prison reform.

  54. There are people who work hard to better the world for everyone everywhere. We find a number of them in life, and quite sadly—and too often quite tragically—we find some of these people only after their death. Thank you very much for allowing me to find Jack Merrit, who was surely one of these people. Now I am able to more deeply share in this mourning.

  55. Had Khan served the full term of his prison sentence then we all know that David Emmett would still be alive to pursue rehabilitation of other prisoners. So what’s the purpose of rehabilitation if prisoners are not serving their entire term? Obviously Khan must not have participated in a rehabilitation prison program or if he did then he fooled the administrators’ trust, which is devastating more to the public trust and such progress on prisoner rehabilitation.

  56. No doubt the Mayor of London - Sadiq Khan - will find a lame excuse!

  57. @JePense Please "think" a bit harder: what has the mayor of London to do with the release of a prisoner or his decision to commit another crime???

  58. @JePense: Perhaps you can fly across the pond to burn a cross on the mayor's lawn, Cletis.

  59. @JePense How do you mean? Are you suggesting khan will try to excuse this attack? If so, based on what do you say this?

  60. We could hear more about good people like Jack Merritt. There are many in every community. Some would like us to believe heartless lies, abuse, adultery, violence, corruption and fraudulent toughness by power who hide behind a wall of wealth and lawyers is today's norm. Maybe. If snarling lies repeated over and over continue to be given oversized coverage…. if the media continues to give these politicians majority coverage…providing legitimacy… what are we and our children to believe?

  61. It took me a beat to figure out that a "twenty pound note" was not a very heavy piece of notepaper. From the description of him in this beautiful piece of writing, I feel Jack would see the funny in this. Such a senseless loss of a young man who clearly sought to bring meaning to his time here. May he rest in peace.

  62. I have a different perspective. As a schoolboy, Mike, a young man known to my girlfriend had tried to murder his tough-minded but fair schoolmaster and his teacher's family by burning down their house. Later, he tracked down and beat up badly both his girlfriend's parents when his girlfriend tried to escape him by returning home, After he had been released from prison, having bumped into him on the street that afternoon my girlfriend, without checking with me, invited Mike and his friend Scobie to come to live with us in the flat we were renting. While living with us, one night Mike made it clear he intended to try to kill my girlfriend and me. He was drunk. Scobie warned me that Mike had a knife. In a desperate fight, I overcame Mike, The next morning, Mike said he couldn't remember a thing about the night before. Mike then proceeded to lock my girlfriend and me out of our flat. I had to climb up the outside drainpipe four stories in the dark to prise open the heavy sash window to let myself and my girlfriend into the flat. After that, Mike left us alone. He came and went, still living in our flat. Eventually, we had to move out because we couldn't get rid of him. Some men are extremely dangerous. They can never be trusted. If you do trust them, then you may pay for this trust with your life.

  63. My takeaway from this article is that early release of prisoners is a clear and present danger. To set the record straight, victims of crimes are the true victims, the perpetrators—and those who aid, abet and participate in crime with them—are criminals. I hope all the progressive prosecutors--and Democratic Presidential candidates--will give serious thought to what it means to eliminate bail, reduce sentences and allow criminals to run loose in our communities. Who is responsible for post-release crimes committed by those released early? An apology to their future victims will be of small consolation for those who are harmed; and how about compensation and restitution for the actual victims? Early release or release without bail of thousands of criminals is a recipe for increased crime, and increased numbers of victims. (Check federal statistics for US recidivism rates—very sobering.) Virtually no criminals are forced to commit their crimes; there is such a thing as free will. It's simple: Just don't do the crime if you can't do the time.

  64. @Mon Ray I get the idea that early release is far more of an issue with Muslim violence rather than intoxicated behavior, drug peddling, or traffic offenses. I keep waiting to hear the police say they can now go into any beihborhood they need to, but it seems that one group still tells the cops & firemen just when they can come in to certain areas.

  65. A fitting tribute to a life wasted trying to rehabilitate people who deserve to be kept away from the rest of us.

  66. @No I am 110 percent sure that Jack Merritt's father does not consider his son's life to have been "wasted." Nor do I or anyone else with a beating heart and discernment ability think that it was. Many violent prisoners should never be released especially when no attempt at rehabilitation has been made or has been made but has failed. And no parole board hearing? Totally unacceptable. But many nonviolent prisoners need to be released to ensure that the nonrehabitable are retained. Resources are limited even in the UK and the US. If you want to have a conversation regarding wasted lives I could remind you of one who is currently top dog in the US and the entire planet actually. My apologies to canines for the analogy. Thank you Jack Merritt for your services (those attempted/cut short and those achieved) to humanity. Mr Merritt, my sympathies to you and all those close to your son. I did not know your son but I, for one, am thankful for his life.

  67. This outpouring of grief for Jack Merritt and what he stood for only means something if we stay focused on what the Usman Khans of this world stand for.

  68. Worth noting here, in tribute to the causes in which Mr Merritt believed, that two of those who risked their own safety (indeed, lives) to tackle the attacker on the bridge were themselves reformed prisoners (identified today in The Guardian, among other outlets, as James Ford and Marc Conway).

  69. Ms. Goldberg, this is a profound piece of writing. Your grief is palpable and just what we need to make sense of the senselessness of this tragic act of violence. We can't forget Jack Merritt, because he is all of us. He unknowingly and unwillingly gave his life and was a victim of our cultural failings. His loss must stand for something. When we go about our day, freely, unencumbered, talking with friends, enjoying a beverage, making love, or angrily demanding someone notice us, Jack Merritt must be in the back of our minds, reminding us of the freedoms we take so for granted. Jack Merritt, a gentleman I didn't know, but desperately wish I could thank for living.

  70. Beautiful, insightful piece. And a tragic end to an amazing person.

  71. Thank you for your remembrance of Jack Merritt. I am most impressed with his father, David Merritt. To be able to put aside his own heartbreak to speak out for what his son would have wanted requires unimaginable strength and love. Let’s all come together to honor Jack Merritt’s short life and ensure that his inspiring deeds and compassion overshadow all the angry comments reacting to his death.

  72. The banality of heroism concept suggests that we are all potential heroes waiting for a moment in life to perform a heroic deed. The decision to act heroically is a choice that many of us will be called upon to make at some point in time. By conceiving of heroism as a universal attribute of human nature, not as a rare feature of the few “heroic elect,” heroism becomes something that seems in the range of possibilities for every person, perhaps inspiring more of us to answer that call. Jack was heroic in very sense. Clearly a man of honor, who understood the potential of every man. So too, as Jack proved, the convict on day release used Jack's message to be a hero as well.

  73. It seems likely that this particular person should have been monitored. It seems likely that those convicted of terrorist acts and likely some other categories of crimes should be better evaluated before being released. That said, it would be a shame and bad for society if the reaction is that rehabilitation is not possible or that throwing away the key is necessary to keep the rest of society "safe." Many can be rehabilitated, some cannot. It is not helpful if the response is to treat every prisoner as if he/she fit into the latter category.

  74. @Anne-Marie Hislop Not when it comes to terrorists. Most feel they have a divine calling to put an end to whatever they think should end.

  75. @Anne-Marie Hislop We can let them live with you. I don't think it would be a shame at all if my sibling's murdered never saw the light of day again. What's "bad for society" is inflicting them on the rest of us.

  76. @Anne-Marie Hislop All I ask is that we as a society be spared the opinions of affluent, irrelevant boomers still trapped in the mess they made of the 60s.

  77. Their hatred is born of alienation. The fact is they don't want to be integrated into our society but they do want to get out of prison hence their apparent recidivism. Unless they have a stake in the community, something to lose, they are going to be a threat. I don't see how writing prose and poems is going to change this.

  78. Education changes prisoners, admittedly not all, but the vast majority. Writing poetry is important, obviously more than you can imagine, for prisoners.

  79. @joe new england : does anyone know if Usman Khan had studied during prison or wrote even one line of poetry? I'm sure your opinion will be of great help to the families who lost a 25 year old and 23 year old in this.

  80. @joe new england Awww. How nice that writing poetry might help the person who murdered my sibling. No thought for the dead, only do-gooderism.

  81. A beautiful and fitting memorial. Thank you.

  82. I would like to see the criteria used to decide when someone is rehabilitated. Surely, it can't be just good behavior in prison. For people with radical beliefs that led to terrorist violence or even threatened violence, it needs to be some form of sustained public denouncement of radical ideas and demonstrated empathy to their victims. I would like to know what has Usman Khan done to deserve early release?

  83. @Alexander K. : apparently, from what I've read about this tragedy, it was AUTOMATIC without input needed from anyone, and no attempt to even find out if Usman Khan was deradicalized.

  84. Emma Goldberg—thank you for this. I will remember him and what he did. And, along with you, I will ignore those who view kindness as weakness and the good fight as a lost cause. Like you, I have been witness to those leaders who, for whatever reason—the primal urges of our species or a metaphysical struggle in the universe—have lost their lives in the process. I have heard their words, seen their work and felt the difference they make. Thank you, Emma Goldberg, for this reminder.

  85. Thank you for this beautiful tribute to your friend, a reminder that there are still some good people working for true justice. It's shocking that Boris Johnson is using this incident to make easy points against his opponents in the upcoming UK election rather than to honor the young people who died, as you have done. As a resident of London where the attack took place, I would like Jack Merritt's father to know that I, for one, will never forget the example he was setting for other young people during his last day on earth.

  86. Thank you Emma. It's a lovely tribute to a lovely spirit.

  87. Release without a Parole Board assessment? There's the extenuating factor right there, not a need for longer prison lengths. Ah, the Brits stumble again.

  88. I am so sorry for the loss of this young man, who had so much to offer, and was living by his beliefs. It is a tragedy, especially so in the way he died. I was struck by the line in the story about the attacker who was “freed half-way through his term without parole board assessment”. This as a very grave over-correction for harsh or unjust sentencing. Yes, there is need for reform, but automatic release without review, that is insanity.

  89. @TS Of course it is, and my guess is that it was an error. If that's the case, such a mistake should not rule policy beyond correcting it.

  90. @TS The two US cyclists who were murdered and beheaded in Tajikistan in 2018 also lived by their beliefs. That wasn't such a good idea either but it happened far from me. It's a sad thing that this young man died, in a way linked with his beliefs. What I refuse is to have my family live here in Paris by his beliefs or those of others like him, which in my view puts us at risk.

  91. Jack Merritt. I'm pleased to know of you and your worthy work. I am so sorry you died in this tragic way. My thoughts are that you would want us to focus on the program you participated in, the successes it has achieved -- and not on the actions of a true outlaw, an outlaw of the realms of civility, spirituality, honor. British law concerning release of prisoners likely must continue to be examined. But Mr. Merritt, many of the prisoners who are/were part of your program will only work harder, I truly hope, in your name and in the name of their own integrity.

  92. Terrorism is a crime of maximum destruction inflicted on innocent civilians in unguarded circumstances for political symbolism of harm and fear. Punishment should be swift and effective without forethought of rehabilitation or release and might not be compared to other crimes or criminality due to the specific nature of terrorisms. Even "intent" to do civilian harm for political reasons might automatically be life in prison without parole.

  93. @terry brady Of course, it was such reasoning that placed political prisoners in the Tower for life in some cases.

  94. @terry brady Fair point. But, I'd for the moment, just like to Thank this person "Jack" and his father.

  95. With today’s high technological means of destruction people need to know that punishment will be harsh and long lasting. I have no pity for those making terroristic threats. Zero.

  96. Mandatory sentences don't solve any problems, that for sure, but we do have to realise that some people are beyond rehabilitation. Society must be protected from them. If that means that a small cohort spend 50 years of their lives in prison, then so be it. Protect the public first.

  97. There are people and crimes that are irredeemable. That very concept was at the heart of the war crimes trials held at the end of World War II. Those people should be subject to execution. Someone willing to commit mass murder is to never be trusted and never to be worthy of living among peaceful citizens again.

  98. @David Gregory The death penalty does not exist in the EU, and rightly so. The discussion will now extend to full, real, life sentences (with or without parole). That will be the crux of the debate.

  99. Ms. Goldberg, thank you for a thoughtful piece on Jack Merritt. Indeed, without this article I would not have known who he was and what he stood for.

  100. A beautiful tribute for a beautiful man. Thank you so much for writing this and to the NYT for running it. It brought tears to my eyes. I am so sorry for his death.

  101. Thank you for sharing, we honor Jack's life and send our love to his family.

  102. Jack was a beautiful soul whose life was taken so tragically. I am so sorry for your loss, his family's loss and the world's loss. Your piece is heartfelt and heartbreaking. Thank you for sharing.

  103. May the world take note of the significance this loss represents for those who seek and long for justice and freedom for all. Our hearts go out to his family and countrymen.

  104. So very sad, and sympathies to his family, friends and those who benefited from his wonderful work. There must be agreement, however, on the release of prisoners incarcerated for crime versus those convicted of terrorism. Why on earth would Khan have been released back to the streets of London?

  105. Powerful, very powerful! Such a wide divide. Sorry for your loss

  106. Heartbreaking. I am so sorry for your loss.

  107. The larger point is that unreconstructed terrorists should not be released. Plainly, no system or project to identify individuals so inclined is likely to succeed without error or oversights, and some individuals will certainly be mistakenly held because of misinformation and system errors. Still, civil society has a right to expect that individuals falling within radar range of the government will be removed to a location where they could think about the harm they would do if the prison system were to release them.

  108. It is very sad that Mr. Merritt, a believer in the reform of the criminal justice system, should have perished as he did. Unfortunately, not every reform works and not everyone has earned the right for a more lenient treatment. Certainly not this animal, who probably would have remained unrepentant no matter how long his sentence and who had little regard for human life and rights. The sad lesson: no automatic parole, particularly for terrorists. Who ever thought that was a good approach needs his/her own rehabilitation session!

  109. @signmeup How would we know? I don’t argue that a process for evaluation of Mr. Khan’s parole was short circuited. But how does one know if the terrorist is or is not rehabilitated? How does one know if the animal abuser will leave prison and be good, or go kill a person? Just to make the curveball complete, I am not very much in favor of parole and short sentences for crimes of violence against other persons. But eventually they are eligible for release. How do we know?

  110. @signmeup Unfair to animals. There are no animal terrorists.

  111. “. . . pulling reason out of heartache . . .” I found this celebration of the young man’s life incredibly moving and, at the same time, unspeakably sad that it had to be written at all.

  112. PBS has a wonderful series called College Behind Bars that espouses the same ideals that Mr. Merritt was so connected with. A wonderful four part series that proves the merit of schooling while in prison. Well worth the time to watch this series.

  113. May he rest in peace, the world will miss this beautiful soul.

  114. Thank you, Mr. Merritt for a too-brief but well-lived life, and thank you Ms. Goldberg for telling us about him.

  115. Thank you for writing about this young man, and his focus on social justice. Incarcerated people are largely written off by society. I feel my own 25 year old son, currently in law school, would like to do the same type of work. I feel for Jack’s parents. And am humbled by their generous statement.

  116. @E. King : I thought his father's statement, given what happened, was amazingly naive.

  117. If circumstances permitted, unreconstructed criminals should be held, as in the case of the terrorist who murdered this young man, until they no longer present a threat to civil society. If the outside limit is the rest of their natural lives, or until they are so old and infirm that they can be safely released, no reasonable or responsible objection can be raised, since innocent lives must be protected against the depredations of anti-Western terrorists, who, foolishly enough, have been invited in by the vey government

  118. Britain's elite appear determined to throw away everything good and valuable that has been learned about mankind in this heedless, headlong collapse into Muslim violence. I haven't heard of anyone being jailed since the Vietnam era for sharing true information with the populace, but people are jailed after spreading news of Muslim inmates on their way to court or prison, with more of this being about the prostitution of young girls rather than terrorism. I believe London sees a thousand knife attacks a years now.

  119. Terrorist are not the only problem. As reported in the news, the 9/11 terrorist were all listed as top 500 security risk; all entered the US without alert two weeks before 9/11; Bush w was advised of a potential attack on the towers when he took office; a majority of the 9/11 terrorist were from Saudi Arabia; Bush then mounted an invasion of Iraq based on lies; any US military and intelligence advisors against invading Iraq were replaced with yes men. Politics trumped facts. It still does with Trump. The lies are given legitimacy by mass repetition. As honorable citizens like Merritt and soldiers die.

  120. Boris Johnson should be in jail for lying about the Economic benefits of leaving the EU. He has put the British Economy in dire straits as well as the working people of Great Britain and beyond wondering if they will even have their jobs in the places where they work now. All because of Class privilege . He and his friends will benefit from leaving the EU,, no one else will though. He should concentrate on that mess and shut up about Justice Reform What does he know about Justice? That said, I do question why a terrorist was ever let our of prison at all. They are sworn to do mayhem against any Country that gets their ire. My heart goes out to all of those who were harmed by this atrocity.

  121. The families of Jack Merritt and Saskia Jones do not want this "isolated incident" to hinder their rehabilitation project. What of those three stabbed but not killed? Collateral damage? Are they so forgiving? What of all those who would have been killed if the assailant, a terrorist, had not been subdued and killed? Usman Khan was a terrorist in prison and he was a terrorist when he was released and he died a terrorist. There would seemingly be a reason that he went on his rampage among those who had helped him. Apparently gratitude was not part of his terrorist creed. What Mr. Merritt or Ms. Jones would have wanted is irrelevant. They cannot sacrifice others for their beliefs.

  122. @Joshua Schwartz , you make a strong case that those shortening the incarceration of convicted planners of mass murder, may themselves be accessories to their future crime.

  123. Thank you - may his death remind us that imprisonment for any other reason than to remove an uncontrollable violent person, (due to ailment or attitude only changes the name on the institution gate), is foolish and makes most people only more dangerous... ...While satisfying our sick human attitude too many of us have not fought down that “punishment” by the state is as vile as any crime. When the murderer was released, he was not given any means if re-integration - or, based on the initial charges, integration into society. Someone who would commit an act of terror does not feel part of the community-at-large, and it is part of the job of a true justice system to help that person find a place. The first step in dealing with a sane-but-violent person is to remove the means of violence (in this case explosives) from (usually)his hands. Then to deal with the anger. And this means working with both the offender, and the society that has alienated the offender. In the case of acts if malice caused by mental disease, this has become simple. Shoot a President for an actress’s love because of a fairly simple brain chemistry error - cure with pills and counseling. Plan a terrorist attack because you are not part of a society that accepts your right to non-violent beliefs or different dress/appearance/even diet - and you don’t have a simple problem at all, because all of us who make an otherwise sane person an outsider bear part of the responsibility, and need to change.

  124. @Eatoin Shrdlu, I don't mean to challenge some of what I am sure are core ideological beliefs on your part, but how do you know that sociological insights drawn from street criminals applies to terrorists? First, t he few studies on the topic have found that terrorists generally are financial better off and better educated than the public at large. The infamous shoe bomber was from one of the wealthiest families in Nigeria, the majority of the 9/11 hijackers were upper middle class with professional degrees. Are you so certain of your theory that you would continue to risk the lives of 23-year old criminology students to satisfy your ideological faith?

  125. Agreed. Keep dangerous people locked up as a security measure, not as punishment.

  126. I am truly sorry for the loss of Jack Merritt, who by this account is a most humane, caring, and involved young man. However, this does not change the fact that some people are simply born wicked and cannot be rehabilitated. Certain horrific and terrifying crimes deserve absolute punishment and long term imprisonment. For the safety and good of everyone else, including Mr. Merritt, we absolutely cannot afford the risk of misjudgments such as the release of this terrorist.

  127. Ms. Goldberg's instincts are fine, but they are not the response to terrorism the general public is calling for.

  128. I will not forget. Jack sought to make the World a better place for us all. It's my honor and duty to do a little bit more, just for Jack, since he cannot continue his mission. By doing so, Jack lives!

  129. No! Terrorists and would-be terrorists have forfeited the right to live amongst us. I reject the notion that society must risk the lives of innocents in the off chance that a terrorist/violent criminal ‘might’ be rehabilitated. If that attacker had remained in prison where he belonged, two innocent people would still be alive today.

  130. Ms. Goldberg, My heartfelt condolences to you and the family, friends, and acquaintances on the death by murder of Mr. Jack Merritt. I was touched by your words. Moreover, I would like to have the opportunity to read the poem that Jack recited in celebration at the graduation ceremony. By chance do you have it available to post ? Sincerely, Raul

  131. People who try to commit murder, by bombing or any other methods, for political, ideological reasons are not likely to be changed with incarceration and/or thought reform. I wish they were but they are not.

  132. Emma, I'm guessing you're young and may not remember "Saving Private Ryan," which was so moving to those of us whose fathers served in WWII. At the end of the movie, as Tom Hanks dies, he looks at Private Ryan--as Hanks becomes the last of many men to die so Ryan can go on with life--and he says, "Earn this." That's what I say to you. Earn this, in Jack Merritt's memory, as you go about your life and your work.

  133. Jack Merritt nest described by his father as a beautiful spirit seemed like he was destined to to do great things and live a long life with service to fellow human beings. The uncertainties of life hit him hard and we will never know what he could have done. A University of Cambridge graduate in his 20s doing what most us would never find the compassion to do and rather not do but he did it will pride only to be brutally stabbed to death in return. A small consolation was that his barbaric killer Usman Khan (no relation to the current mayor of London Sadiq Khan) was shot to death by police. When I saw the video of the stabber tackled by the passersby and held to the floor after confiscating his knife, there was no need for the burly policeman to yank the passerby from the top of the killer and create a situation in which the police shot him. On second thoughts it was on the spot justice for a maniac who had only served half his sentence for plotting to commit a terrorist act for which he was imprisoned when the current prime minister of Britain Boris Johnson was the mayor of London. Deepest sympathies to the Merrit family and friends. Jack was certainly one of a kind forgiving person who was working to give a second chance to hardened criminals who should never have been free to commit heinous acts. RIP Jack your life was cut short but will be remembered forever and hopefully lessons learned will make the needed change.

  134. @Girish Kotwal There *was* a reason the policeman jerked the people off and shot Usman Khan. He was wearing a (what turned out to be fake) explosive vest. The policeman had no way of knowing it was a fake until later. It was not an execution - it was "suicide by cop" on the part of Khan.

  135. @Crategirl from America. So you are saying the overzealous police a mistake in assuming the vest did not have WMD explosives and the police just shot. First shoot and then ask questions?

  136. @Girish Kotwal Yes--shoot and kill the guy before he detonates a vest that could kill dozens. If I had been there, with a knife or a gun, Khan wouldn't have lasted more than 10 seconds.

  137. Wow. So sad. So sad such a wonderful human being is gone. He set a great example for us to follow. In the South, we'd call him 'good people', and there's no higher honor. Just be a force for the good; simply, humbly, lovingly. Like Jack. Reach across divisions, be they religious, financial, national, etc. All fictional. All these little disguises we wear: fiction. We are One. Jack saw no difference in our spirits. He was right. We need to be more like him.

  138. To paraphrase Trotsky: You may not be interested in crime, but crime is interested in you.

  139. Heart breaking.

  140. We lost a nicest human being who dedicated his life for helping people to turn around from bad to betterment. Rest In Peace Jack. Heart felt sympathy to your loved ones left behind. Phytoist.

  141. Young people like Jack Merritt make the world a better place. They give optimism in face of evil that often gets more publicity than some of god's good creations like Jack.

  142. @PK2NYT His intentions may have been noble, but the program that was a showcase for his noble intentions led to both his and a young woman's death. It is lucky that more didn't die.

  143. @PK2NYT I don't believe the world became a better place for Saskia Jones. Possibly the only person for whom the world became a better place because of a foolish idealist is the murderer of a mentally disabled woman who is now being hailed a hero. I would think a man who had slit the throat of a 21 year old girl would not be quite as intimidated by a knife-wielding religious fanatic.

  144. Do not forget that Mr. Merritt's activism cost another person her life. With the exception of non-politicized GED and vocational training, most "prisoner rehabilitation" programs are ego exercises for people who thrill at proclaiming they are the special ones who "understand" predators. My rapist, who had scores of victims, was given time off the front of one sentence for allegedly being mentally handicapped, then time off the end of the sentence for allegedly getting a fake "psychology degree" handed out by such preening fools. Then he went back to raping and torturing women. Real rehabilitation involves accepting responsibility and the consequences that come with it, and real forgiveness is not contingent on the offender being released back into society. Activists like Merritt have harmed countless innocent victims' lives with their narcissistic and foolish rescue complexes. Often the most compassionate path is to prevent a predator from racking up a higher body count. And the rhetoric underlying such activism is frequently vicious towards victims, accusing us of being "vengeful" or worse (see: reactionary) merely for wanting to see our torturers securely separated from society.

  145. @Tina Trent Thank you so much for your comment. My murdered sibling has the right to be alive and in a free society; he never hurt anyone. Killers, rapists, and terrorists are damaged beyond repair. Those of us who have survived their crimes know rehab is a delusion.

  146. @Tina Trent Thank you, thank you, thank you for that brave and brilliant comment. I am so sorry for what you had to go through.

  147. @Honeybee I'm so sorry about your brother.

  148. Thank you for letting us get to know your class mate Jack Merrit. His humanitarian spirit and his contribution to improving the justice system should be kept in memory.

  149. I’m all for rehabilitating some convicts and helping them reintegrate back into society. The problem is that most Jihadis are not capable of being rehabilitated. Their extreme ideology makes them a threat to public safety and therefore these people should be locked up indefinitely. This is not being punitive. It’s simply necessary to protect the public.

  150. No terrorist should ever be released from prison. So sorry for this young man and his family.

  151. Jack deserves to be remembered... an advocate for justice murdered by a perpetrator for evil. The ultimate injustice. He sounds like the kind of man who would urge our better inclinations, even when faced by such horror. Thank you Emma Goldberg for your very meaningful tribute.

  152. RIP Jack Merritt,25, and Saskia Jones,23. What a terrible loss for their families and the country as a whole. Our criminal justice system is a complete mess - fewer police, closing of courts, desperate need for prison reform. This is why a convicted terrorist was released after serving 8 years of his 16 year sentence. The Conservative party has had 10 years to reform criminal justice. They failed. Their claim to be the law and order party is risible

  153. Jack Merritt sounds like an outstanding person of great character. His death is a tragedy. Serving as a chaplain in a psychiatric institution serving forensically committed patients as well as at a maximum security jail reinforced my belief that even people who have engaged in very violent acts can change. They may have character and caring that put many of us to shame. I also strongly believe that there are people who need to be in a secure setting that is humane and therapeutic until they are rehabilitated. Someone who does not need to be incarcerated should not be kept in prison a minute longer than is needed, but people should also not be released a minute sooner than is needed for them to be safe. We need to be guided by compassion, thoughtfulness and the perspectives of the most seasoned law enforcement professionals, forensic psychologists and psychiatrists and the most rigorous research and data. My belief in the need for change in our justice system is rooted in both my human values of fairness and in my faith. I believe every life is sacred. I continue to question and disagree with aspects of my faith even as it is one of the most central parts of my life. The need for justice reform is real and urgent. Big change is needed. But we also need to let our views be firmly grounded in reality, not in a "one size fits all" perspective that either believes in harsh punishment or one that believes that compassion means believing everyone is ready to be safe.

  154. @Zoe Wyse But there was not only no proof Usman had become deradicalized, no one EVEN TRIED TO FIND OUT......he was freed based on time served (half his sentence) by some bureaucrat obeying policy, no penal justice board or experts on violence or radical beliefs was consulted. For this, not only Jack Merritt died, but also 23 year old Saskia Jones, who was also a young criminologist at that conference, as well..... Does that meet any common sense beliefs at all? Not to me.

  155. what a beautiful tribute to a beautiful soul. thank you for your loving words!

  156. “My son, Jack, who was killed in this attack would not wish his death to be used as the pretext for more draconian sentences or for detaining people unnecessarily.” Sending people that plan terrorist attacks to prison is not draconian. Their motive for violence is a belief. Beliefs are not changed quickly and in these cases, the believer feels even more justified in violence, because his incarceration prevented him from carrying out God's will.

  157. @Mike We should respect the families of the victim, but dont base public policy on the wishes of those in an emotional state. Policy makers must consider how to avoid future victims. Europe has yet to confront the threat of radical Islamic terrorism. Even saying those words is often prohibited. Media reports tried diligently to avoid the words Islamic, Muslim or ISIS. No problem can be solved without first honestly acknowledging it.

  158. @Mike , I thought the same thing when I heard his father's statement. Certainly, incarceration is not the optimal punishment for a range of non-violent offenders, but the idea that you could treat religious terrorists as a recently paroled street criminal was Cambridge's mistake and their 25-year old employee paid the price for that mistaken judgment.

  159. IMAGINE ALL THE PEOPLE- My heart is full of grief, eyes full of tears reading this humane and dignified piece on the life and purpose of Jack Merritt. One day perhaps we will connectively rise past religions, races, ideaolgy to realize there is no "Us & Them"...the other, those people. There is ultimately- only US. I will meet you kind readers, on that day we as a species step out from our caves, into the warm sunlight. Larry D Miami Beach.

  160. @Larry D Yes and until that day arrives keep the religious fanatics out of our country.

  161. @Larry D Huh? You think killers are "us" and it's race/religion/ideology that compel us to seek life in prison for them? Wow.

  162. I know nothing about the British judicial system, but it does seem to me that prisoners like Khan should have never been released and prisoners like Jack Merritt should have been out a lot sooner so he could make his heartfelt contribution to helping the world be a better place. I will remember Jack's story, and I'll remember his compassionate father's response to great personal tragedy.

  163. @DMS I don't think Merritt was a prisoner himself, just working to fight for justice for them.

  164. @DMS Jack Merritt was not a prisoner, he was a Cambridge graduate who advocated for penal code reform.

  165. My understanding of this story is that Jack was never a prisoner. Rather, he began working with prisoners and on prison reform when he was a university student.

  166. Five decades of research has found insufficient evidence that prison rehabilitation programs work. We can pay tribute to the two Cambridge Criminology degree graduates who certainly deserve nothing but praise for sacrificing their time and effort toward teaching prisoners law and writing, but who is responsible for the decision to insert in to the program a convicted terrorist? As much as rehabilitation programs lead to uncertain results for street criminals, we can be even more certain that there is no existing evidence that such programs will reverse the willingness of those planning mass murder to change their plans.

  167. @DoctorRPP I wonder where that research was done, if in the US, I believe that you have to take into account the fact that so many of our prisons are run by for profit Companies who have no incentive to rehabilitate prisoners. However I am familiar with studies conducted in the UK and Scandinavian countries that show excellent results in rehabilitating prisoners.

  168. @Britl, the hundreds of prison rehabilitation studies in the US and Europe are equally conflicted. Yes, some studies have shown a positive impact on prisoner recidivism on the two sides of the ocean, but the ver immersive programs that have shown to be successful are largely absent from what is being done on either continent. More specifically, Cambridge's poetry and pose program is not an evidence-based practice for even non-violent criminals...nevermind a convicted terrorist.

  169. Without Neocon/ Lobby incitement to force the US to attack and destroy Iraq, ISIS would not have existed to begin with. In a more fundamental way, what Jack Merritt and other innocent victims of the various iterations of these militant attacks across the years share is that they didn’t deserve to be the Neocon’s collateral damage. This summer, without care, they will go back to sunbathe in the opulence of the Hamptons and hold re-election fund raisers. This is where the country and world are.

  170. @Dobes “He was freed halfway through his term, last December, without a parole board assessment.”

  171. It's predictable that violence (wheather labeled terrorism or not) by Muslims and Africans is always greeted with an outcry that people of the same demographics might face scrutiny or profiling, and we must not let that happen. On the other hand, when it is white right wingers, the same people called loudly for profiling, surveillance, and increased scrutiny of the demographic. The Charlottesville casualty is a good example. Muslims were intentionally running people over 3 times a week we were told there was nothing to see here and these were isolated incidences. One right-wing white guy does the same thing in Charlottesville and we're told white supremacists are the biggest threat of terrorism on the planet and that is where we need to focus all of our concern.

  172. @Lisa R Exactly right. Thank you.

  173. What a beautiful and touching way to honor Mr. Merrit, who changed his life in such a positive direction, and the irony in dying a cruel death by a man who didn't. Wonderful writing.

  174. @Bocheball : He wasn't a prisoner, he was from Cambridge and he was working with prisoners. Why are so many readers not understanding this? Not reading the article? Not understanding the article? Just skimming because they can't wait to comment on something they do not even understand? No wonder Trump gets away with 'fake news'. Sheesh.

  175. @sophia "When I read the news of the attack, I pictured him back at Grendon prison reading his graduation poem." Talking about Mr. Merrit, this led me to believe he WAS a prisoner. Being that I'm far from the only one, you should chill out and not be so critical. Maybe the writing is at fault.

  176. This is too sad. And the police created another martyr who goes to heaven in the (islamic) extremist view. I would hope that better re-indoctrination and anti-brainwashing programs in prison will happen, even after cost-cutting of post-Brexit. However, I don't know how much isolation terrorists have in prison from fellow extremists. There is also the large muslim population in Britain to placate?

  177. @serenocormac Oh, yeah, here comes the "police did it" excuse. Yes, they shot him, but it was because he was wearing what looked like an explosive vest — the kind that had already been used successfully many times — and with London's history, felt they couldn't take a chance, I suppose. And then there's the fact that this guy had already stabbed two people to death. Jack Merritt was a well-meaning individual, but his dad's utterances indicate idealogical stolidness in the face of a reality that he doesn't want to face. As a matter of fact, both the attacker and his two murdered victims would be alive if there were more "draconian" measures taken. This Usman Khan clearly had no interest in rehabilitation and anyone looking into it should have seen that. In fact, it sounds like they did.

  178. @gwonk Well said.

  179. Sad and tragic for such a loss. Life is just not fair sometimes and a life with so much promise is taken out by a life bent on killing and revenge.

  180. Jack seems like a wonderful human being. Our whole planet has suffered a loss. As someone whose sibling was murdered, though, I have a completely different take on killers, rapists, and jihadis. I don't think very young people who have not themselves survived a vicious rape or the murder of an immediate family member should pursue causes that, while appealing to their own personal sense of righteousness, put the rest of us at risk. They should have the humility to know that they actually don't know. And if if they choose to careen ahead anyway, they should not be protected from the outcry against their actions because of their youth or good intentions. Do-gooderism is an addictive, self-serving drug. I hesitate to call Jack a do-gooder; he was so young it was likely he was a useful tool of do-gooder adults. Killers, rapists, and terrorists cannot be reformed or rehabilitated. There is something so deeply broken within them that they cannot be trusted to be in society ever again.

  181. @Honeybee I don’t entirely agree. Reform is certainly possible and desirable, even with terrible circumstances like you name. Recidivism is pretty low in a lot of these cases. It depends on the age of the offender and the circumstances in each case, among other things. You can’t lump them all together. I have read the studies and the statistics, most of them compiled by the U.S. justice system, not all by bleeding heart groups. But it should be judged by a case by case basis. Judges and prosecutors should use discretion. In general, I think terrorists probably belong in the category of criminal who should be locked up longer. I oppose the death penalty in all cases.

  182. @Honeybee You are so right. My condolences for your loss.

  183. @Bookworm8571 Read the studies and oppose the death penalty all you want. I stood by the grave of someone not yet 20 and I visit that grave frequently. I put zero credence in "the studies". Again, a college degree and do-gooderism are a deadly but addictive mix. The only thing worse is "passion". All stem from narcissism and egocentrism.

  184. To say life is unfair would be understatement. By all accounts, Jack Merritt was a wonderful human being, kind, empathetic, devoting his life to helping others. And his life was snuffed out senselessly in a random attack by a fanatic. These terrorists are barbarians, and on the low part of the human scale in my opinion. Never could understand a religious belief that is interpreted as killing anyone who doesn't believe as you do. The civilians who jumped into the fray to subdue Khan should be commended. More and more we are seeing the heroic results when four or five people attack a lone fanatic. Not only is he not expecting that kind of reaction, but it usually results in totally eliminating his murderous delivery system. My son went to the mall on Friday when several friends. As he left I hugged him and said, "make sure you have a plan." Sad.

  185. What a wonderful nuanced way of looking at a man that gave so much during his short life.Thank you

  186. Mr Merritt and his murderer seem to have understood one thing together: that forgiveness quells hate. That hate only persists if there is conflict and oppression. Nazis wouldn't know what to do if they stopped attacking their enemies. No other goals. IS would dry up if it accepted forgiveness. Al-Qaeda's goal was to assert its existence by dragging its enemies to retaliate. They succeeded more than they expected. IS understands that. Mr Merritt understood that. His murderer understood that. How do we manage to elect to lead us the only people who don't seem to understand that? Hmm. Or is it that they do understand it, but also need enemies?

  187. Sadder yet for the other innocent civilians that died. This guy wasn't complicit- but he was no hero.

  188. How ironic that a good person who stood for rehabilitation should be slain by a violent offender previously released after serving a sentence for violent attacks. It’s sort of a "let twenty pass and stone the 21st" situation. How can one tell who will "go and sin no more," and who will resume behavior that used to result in the death penalty?

  189. Surely one can tell by the nature of the crime for which they were incarcerated. Terrorists are unlikely o have been reformed while imprisoned; those committing lesser crimes might well be put onto new paths. Not rocket science.

  190. But we want to think that our empathy for others will cure all hatred, solve all ills. Empathy doesn’t take away the agency of another. They are still free to think and feel as they will. To imagine otherwise is blindness- to one’s own narcissism. This is the foolish, childish narcissism of “abolish prisons!” and “end incarceration!”. It is only possible to think such thoughts from behind the barricades of bourgeois privilege. It’s simple wisdom to understand that I am a dangerous animal, made civil for the moment by my privilege and good fortune.

  191. Rest In Peace, Jack. You helped make a difference in this world...

  192. Some prisoners need to stay in prison. Sometimes forever. It depends on the crime. Child molesters and terrorists never reform, but are skilled liars.

  193. Idealism can be a beautiful thing but it can also look foolhardy and naive. This poor young man didn’t live long enough to temper his idealism. Some people simply need to be locked up for the safety of society and, yes, to punish their wrongdoing. Terrorists need to serve longer sentences than non violent drug addicts.

  194. What he may have stood for pales beside why he died - because the UK has crazy laws to accomodate jihadists who want to live there but hate the Brits, their country, their laws, and their religion. Europe is overrun by these people and political correctness trumps common sense in dealing with them which in turn fuels nationalism and a return to rightist views. I think Merritt sounds like a typical young do-gooder with a half-baked idealistic world view. Hopefully his legacy will be draconian laws for maniacs.

  195. @Eli You are getting hysterical. I understand the fear. But where is your proof that Europe is 'over-run'? More people with humanistic views and principles need to speak up and influence the national dialog and culture.

  196. @Eli I don't understand objection towards people who want to do good?

  197. @Blake No one has any objection towards people who want to do good, even at their own risk, which they gave chosen: humanitarian workers etc. I for one take issue with people who want to do good and put themselves - as we saw - and others such as myself at risk, which I did not choose.

  198. When determining sentencing, maybe people with bombs should be considered to have less in common with people with knives and more with people in the subway with vials of sarin.

  199. A number of the commenters are misreading and assume that Jack Merritt had served in prison. He was the leader of a program that brings together prisoners and university students—a program in which he was a participant with the writer when they were students at Cambridge. He sounds like he was a wonderful person who believed in and in acted on behalf of justice, rehabilitation and forgiveness.

  200. I’m glad you clarified that for the people who misread it. Tragic enough that such a kind hearted, smart, compassionate fella was murdered let alone people thinking he was an excon.

  201. When one thinks of an individual whose life is worth emulating, surely the individual should be Jack Meritt.

  202. He was a convicted killer on work release.

  203. @tom, please read the article. Jack Ford, who was a convicted killer on day release, rushed to help.

  204. @maxie That's what I said.

  205. A part of all of us died with Jack Merritt. I'd like to think most people are caring, hopelessly optimistic and should be able to use words instead of violence to express themselves. I often ask myself, why is it that some of us refuse to see the line? Many of us are looking for substantive stories to motivate us in avoidance of naiveness and angst. This is true in appearance, but not in fact, for the future may hold for us similar tragedies since some individuals have a tendency of being able to remedy their problems only by aggravating them, so that each day is much more tolerable before the solution is found to the difficulties of the present moment. These salutary or awkward consequences matters little to those who don't question themselves (Usman Khan) and are comfortable with bringing light to uncomfortable truths they lack the capacity to articulate without violence, opting instead to commit such heinous acts. Hence, some of us meditate upon the bad luck of being born without concern for the harm we can cause others or ourselves.

  206. Terrorist and extreme violent criminals are a danger to society and must be given the maximum penalty under the law, without parole, life in prison. I believe consideration for rehabilitation is a possibility/individual case, however, conducted behind bars in a maximum-security prison. For some of us, hope springs eternal for a Utopian society but it’s terribly tragic that Mr. Merritt, a great public servant, is deceased, because of a violent criminal, while Mr. Merritt was tirelessly working to reform the penal system, and gave this criminal a second chance, and he used that second chance to kill a great and irreplaceable man. My deepest condolences go out to the Merritt family.

  207. It astounds me that convicted terrorists are deemed as capable of reform as criminals convicted of other, less ideologically-driven crimes. What on earth persuades reformers as well-intentioned as Jack Merritt that mere understanding and forgiveness will persuade a terrorist to become a model citizen of a Western European country, with values completely at odds with the terrorist’s ideology and purpose? And the failure of the parole board to review the case just exacerbates the issue.

  208. @Sconseter In NYC "understanding and forgiveness" probably won't, but then that's not what rehabilitation programs largely consist of. One thing to keep in mind is that many terrorists are only driven by ideology because they were desperately lacking any other sense of purpose in their lives. It is difficult to rehabilitate them, but it is by no means impossible.

  209. @Simon And modern Western society provides no purpose. It produces lots of directionless people, and that with radical Islam makes for a very dangerous combination.

  210. This is so unbearably sad. Thank you for introducing Jack to the world, letting us all realized the loss of such a force of realness, goodness, and fun.

  211. What a beautiful story and a tragic loss at the same time. While many of us understand that harshness is not justice, we should also be aware that leniency is not justice either as the cruel and merciless terrorist attack showed.