Steve's on the line with us from Norman, Oklahoma.
STEVE (Caller): Hello. I just want to make a comment about putting that mosque next to the World Trade Center site. I live in Oklahoma, and obviously, that was a big event in everybody's lives. And it would be just the same as putting a Ryder truck rental right across the street from the new federal building. It's inappropriate, and I just don't think it should happen.
(Neil) CONAN: Steve, you know it's not a mosque, and it's not across the street.
STEVE: Well, still, you know, it's close. You know...
CONAN: How close is too close? It's two blocks away, can't see it.
STEVE: Well, you need to have some I'm a firefighter for the city of Oklahoma City, and I just - stuff like that, symbolic stuff like that, it just really gets to the core of all of us.It would be easy to make fun of Steve, to disregard him, to ridicule his lack of insight, but that would be disrespectful on my part. What one can see - if one looks - is a guy troubled with what seems on one hand to be very wrong and on the other an uncertainty as to why.
He does not understand the why, he just knows there is a feeling of it being wrong. He can't articulate it because it stands on both sides of the aisle. It is both wrong and should not be wrong all at the same time.
Because if you really think about it, the placement of the Islamic center is really no different than putting a Ryder truck rental sign right across the street from where the Murrah Building. Both had nothing to do with the culprits responsible for the act - but both are seen as an welcomed reminder.
And therein lies the problem for guys like Steve. For me, I can understand how Steve feels, and I can give credence to the example he gave. But I choose to move past that and accept the other truth in play. That despite how inappropriate it looks, the real harm is to punish the one who's only guilt is by association.