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Martin Luther King, Jr., once invoked the words of the prophet Micah to say that the ultimate measure of a society was how it treated its most powerless members. With this principle in mind, I found the most horrifying event of 2004 to be when Chechen terrorists took over School Number One in Beslan, holding hostage a thousand young children on their first day of school. How the shooting began, no one knows for sure, but by the time the carnage was over 344 people were dead, 186 of them children. I don’t have an opinion on whether the Chechens should or should not be a part of Russia, but every civilized person in the world knows that the last people you ever put in the line of fire are children. It’s the fate of the world’s ...

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