When the news of the murder of American Otto Warmbier by North Korean goons broke Monday it was a trending topic on Twitter for a while.
Soon, it was replaced by such pressing national issues as The Bachelorette, the Teen Choice Awards nominees and Better Call Saul’s season finale. I do love Better Call Saul, but the fate of characters on a show – even a good one – hardly compares to the torture and murder of an American by a foreign government.
Yet, this is the world in 2017 – a world where celebrity trumps reality, no matter the reality.
An American is murdered by a hostile foreign government and more people are interested in which actors are nominated as teens’ favorite comedy performer.
The horrible nature of what happened to Otto Warmbier cannot be overstated. His brain was destroyed by those monsters. And although they deserve retribution, it’s unlikely Kim Jong-Un and his barbarians will suffer any significant repercussions for their evil.
The evil the North Koreans perpetrated on Otto is visited on their own people regularly. Countless times each day, North Koreans are murdered, tortured, starved to death and worse by the regime. The world has done just about all it’s willing to do to stop it, which doesn’t seem like a whole lot.
Yes, there are sanctions. But sanctions in a country such as North Korea means the people suffer, not the leaders. Kim isn’t fat from eating his pets and dirt, as many peasants have been forced to do.
In left-wing military regimes where the people are oppressed, the leadership always lives like kings. They eat the best food, they have the latest gadgets, and so on. Their people suffer in the name of the cause – be it socialism, communism, etc. But it’s never the leadership.
Sure, they suffer the occasional purge – left-wing dictators do love their purges – but until they’re tossed in a gulag or wiped out of existence by an anti-aircraft gun, life is pretty good for those in power. It’s been that way since the progressive concept of “isms” came into being.
Communism, fascism, socialism, they’ve always been about elites ruling the great unwashed, forcing the people they always claim their actions are meant to protect or represent into varying degrees of slavery to the state.
They all preach about equality. It’s just that some people are simply better, smarter and more noble than others, so they deserve more. Some people deserve more equality. At least until they become too popular or too highly regarded and are then disappeared.
Of course, China could rein in Kim, at least some, without even breaking a sweat. But why would the life of one American matter to China when the lives of tens of millions of their own people didn’t?
The most frustrating fact in the aftermath of the murder of Otto Warmbier is how nothing is likely to change and people will soon forget. The day he died it was news, then the world moved quickly on.
The Trump administration doesn’t have a lot of good options. The president is unlikely to get China to agree to erase Kim and his cronies from the planet. Yes, Trump can pressure allies, the United Nations and even a few international corporations, but Kim Jong-Un will survive.
But justice won’t come for Otto Warmbier, because nothing short of the direct punishment of his torturers would bring about justice in any measurable sense.
The only comfort for his family is he died a free man, which is not a lot of comfort.
As for the rest of us, we’re too wrapped up in TV shows and our daily lives to care. It’s sad but true. We aren’t going to go to war over the death of one American. Our enemies know this, and it empowers them.
North Korea holds at least a few more Americans; we’re not even sure of the number. Iran has some too. Other despots would love to get their hands on Americans because it allows otherwise-pissant dictators some propaganda at home. If they’re willing to kill an American, what do you think they’ll do to you if you step out of line?
It’s times like this I wish the CIA were anywhere close to the CIA Hollywood would have us believe it is. A Jason Bourne-type hero could at least bring some justice. As it stands, the only measure of justice we can provide is to keep alive the memory of Otto Warmbier.