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Other Social and Behavioral Sciences | Political Science | Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration


This was published as a two-part guest column in The Bells (the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor student newspaper), November 15 and December 6, 1995.


The assassination of Israeli's prime minister, Yitzhak Rabin, moments after speaking of his hopes for peace at a large public rally in Tel Aviv gives his death the added poignancy of the image of an old soldier giving up his life in the pursuit of peace. But the assassin's bullets were also aimed at the heart of an entire nation.

It may indeed be true, as Simone Weil observed, that the destruction of a city is the greatest calamity that can befall the human race. The scope of the horrors that have accompanied twentieth century warfare and ethnic strife is unimaginable. This may be why few occasions are more calculated to cut us to the quick and fewer more dramatically expose our vulnerability than the assassination of a national leader. It reduces the unimaginable to human scale.