Eboo Patel is a Muslim who has a recurring “hero fantasy.” Now I am not normally interested in other people’s hero fantasies. For example, I don’t think people care that I once wanted to be Jim Craig (the goalie of the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team) and lead America to another gold medal against the Soviets. (I abandoned this dream rather quickly when I grew to be 6’7″ and realized that I couldn’t stand up very well on skates).
But Patel’s fantasy, as described in his recent USA TODAY opinion piece, caught my attention. Here it is:
I’m not the world’s most physical guy, but I have a hero fantasy I play over and over in my head.
I’m on a plane and a guy a few rows up starts to make some suspicious moves. In some dream sequences, he’s taking out a box cutter. Other times, he’s trying to set his shoe on fire.
Everyone else is sleeping, but I’m doing my patriotic duty by staying vigilant, and I see this guy try to take us down and I’m not going to let him. I yell “TERRORIST!” just as the blade comes out or the match lights up. It startles him just for a second, buying me enough time to lunge over two rows and knock the object out of his hands.
There are going to be some new details in my hero fantasy after the failed terrorist attempt on Christmas Day bags of explosive powder taped to legs, syringes full of chemicals, Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam. But one part of the sequence will remain the same: After I knock the box cutter or match or whatever out of the terrorist’s hand, I go straight for the son of a bitch’s throat. I want to crush his larynx before he can squeeze any Arabic out of it. Because not only does this guy want to take down a plane full of God’s people, he wants to take down a whole religion with it. And I want to do my part to rescue both.
I got closer than I ever thought I would to testing this vision in real life. I was on the Amsterdam-Detroit flight about a week before the terrorist attempt on that same route.
You can read the rest.
It is time that we Americans stop equating all Muslims with Al-Qadea and Mutallab.