John Glenn would have likely been quietly resting in his condo in downtown Columbus, OH, when Abdul Arzak Ali Artan drove his Honda Civic into a crowd outside the Department of Materials Science and Engineering building on OSU’s sprawling campus, about 10 days ago. It’s hard to know whether he learned of the attack and what he might have thought, but it is a cruel irony that one of America’s greatest would be resting in well-deserved retirement so near to what was clearly an ISIL-inspired attack.

But don’t tell those students and faculty – including a professor from England who was struck by the vehicle and yet refused to consider it terrorism – at OSU who seem to view Artan as a poor, misguided, misunderstood refugee who had no other option than to express his rage at the lack of safe spaces for Muslims on campus and in America. And don’t tell those Black Lives Matter activists who have labeled the takedown of Artan by a police officer, who happened to be white and was fortunately nearby, as a racist attack.

This is what identity politics gets you when it is faced with islamic radical terrorism. A desperate need to look everywhere and anywhere for a reason – a deterministic structure that is, of course, oppressive in all sorts of micro ways – other than to look the clearly stated intentions of a radicalized lone wolf.

So no, we don’t know what John Glenn thoughts were as he rested in his condominium and perhaps the news reached him or he found out watching his television. Him having suffered a stroke a few years ago, makes it hard to say. But rather, let’s remember John Glenn’s famed “Gold Star Mothers” speech that he gave in the 70’s, in response to criticisms by his Democratic primary opponent, regarding his lack of experience in dealing with a payroll, as they ran for the nomination for Senator. Here’s what John Glenn said:

… look those men with mangled bodies in the eyes and tell them they didn’t hold a job. You go with me to any Gold Star mother and you look her in the eye and tell her that her son did not hold a job.

That moral clarity – backed up by a military and space career that only an actor like Ed Harris could hope to come close to faithfully portraying – is needed as OSU comes to terms with the attack on it’s students and staff and on America itself, perpetrated by Artan on November 28.

Senator Glenn died surrounded by family and friends at OSU’s Wexner Medical Center. He left his name and a legacy of inspiration through the John Glenn School of Public Affairs. America owes much to Senator Glenn. Ohio, perhaps more. OSU, in turn, should remember the values that drove a real hero like John Glenn, as they pay tribute to his astonishing life. And keep those values in mind as they reflect on the attack on November 28. An attack aimed at those very values that John Glenn embraced and lived to the fullest.

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