Final Thoughts on Aztlan & a Post-Mortem on Bin Laden

As I mentioned in my last post, claims by Chicano activists (re: their entitlement to essentially the entirety of the American Southwest) rest on their assertion that this entire area was dominated by the Aztecs, whom they claim as ancestors.

Fact check: Upon arriving in the early and mid-16th century, the conquistadors found the Aztecs in control of only a small part of what is now Mexico. Most of the rest of “Aztlan” was then the homeland of numerous Native American First Nations (Navajo, Apache, Ute, Pueblo, Commanche, etc.). Before their arrival, the area was the home of the “Ancient Ones”, the Anasazi, who lived there from about 1200 BC until the early 14th century. Later, those parts of the United States that were once controlled by Mexico came to be that way not because of the Aztecs, but because of Spanish conquests, gained by Mexico on September 27,1821 when Mexico won its freedom from Spain.

Do the proponents of Aztlan expect the First Nations peoples to give way to their claims to their ancestral lands? The Aztlan assertions are as ridiculous to me as would be any claims by the descendants of the Hapsburg family to resurrect the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Let’s move on…


Are you getting as sick as I am about all the attention being given in death to Osama Bin Laden? By the time he was killed last week, Bin Laden had become an irrelevancy in the Middle East.  The photo of him in his squalid “Command Center” watching himself on TV illustrated how limited and solipsistic his world had become since 9/11. How does one say “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain” in Arabic?

Some are trying to make a big deal about the fact that Bin Laden was apparently unarmed when he was shot and killed. I would just like to point out that the 2,966 people (including 14 from the high school I attended) who were killed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks were also unarmed at the time.

Bin Laden’s irrelevancy, especially in light of the recent political upheavals in much of the Islamic world, demonstrates the persistent resonance of democracy and liberty in the human spirit.  And to that I say “Amen”.

2 responses to “Final Thoughts on Aztlan & a Post-Mortem on Bin Laden

  1. Mary Lee Compitello

    Do you believe in the death penalty? I loathed Bin Laden as much as anyone, but shall we not condone murder, especially he is/was is irrelevant. (Bob, your rhetoric is catchy). A cheek for cheek; I just came from mass.

    • Oh, Mary Lee, that is the big question, isn’t it? I remember once debating the following: Would it have been moral to kill Adolph Hitler in 1939 and prevent the Holocaust and World War II? It’s not really a valid question because it is posed with omniscient retrospect. If I had killed Hitler in 1939 I couldn’t have known what he would eventually do, could I? But in Bin Laden’s case his killing can be seen not as an act of revenge, but as one of justice. There is no doubt in my mind that he was criminally responsible for 9/11, he took credit for it and his organization did the actual deeds. He also voiced his intention to create more 9/11s in the future. My labeling him as “irrelevant” referred to the fact that the attention of the world had passed him by, but that would have changed if he had pulled off another slaughter. So here you have a man whom you know has killed thousands, something we didn’t know about Hitler in 1939. And Osama’s pledge to kill thousands more had to be taken seriously, given his past. I’ll punt the moral aspect of this question along to Fr. Jack Healy. I’m glad he’s gone and will make an exception in my reluctance to invoke the death penalty in his case.

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