Wider than the Atlantic Ocean. Deeper than the cultural underpinnings of different ways to spell and pronounce English words. The Anglo-American divide is as deep as it is wide. Much wider and deeper than the pond that separates them.
Or so it might appear from these two news stories. They happened on the same day. Consider the enormity of what occurred and the way they ended:
*** In Orlando, Florida, a Chechen man with ties to Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev was shot and killed by an FBI agent while he was being questioned about his possible involvement in an unsolved triple homicide in Waltham, according to two law enforcement officials with knowledge of the investigation.
The FBI said, “a violent confrontation was initiated by the individual (and) during the confrontation, the individual was killed and the agent sustained non-life threatening injuries.’’
*** In London, the Metropolitan police shot – and wounded – two men who hacked a British soldier to death on a high street, shouting “Allahu Akbar” and telling members of the public they wanted people like the dead man to stop killing Muslim people. The British prime minister described it as a “terrorist attack”.
Is there a larger significance in the fact that the London attackers are wounded – but alive – and the Orlando man is dead?
Some might say there is and that British security forces are less intemperate in their reactions than the Americans. That said, what about Jean Charles de Menezes, the young Brazilian man shot dead by the London Metropolitan police at Stockwell tube station on the London Underground in the highly charged atmosphere that gripped the British capital after the bombings of July 7, 2005? He was wrongly suspected of being one of the fugitives involved in another series of failed bombing attempts.
Perhaps the trans-Atlantic divide is not that great after all.