Overheard on CNN.com: Son is responsible for his own actions
Aicha el-Wafi blames herself for failing to note the terrorist path of son Zacarias Moussaoui.
September 2nd, 2011
04:31 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Son is responsible for his own actions

Comments of the Day

"Such a nice boy... growing up hated, with schizophrenic sisters, and an abusive bipolar Dad... I just don't understand how my son ..."–CANEMAN

" 'Get me some fertilizer Mom,' he said. 'I'm going to need a one-way ticket; can I borrow your Visa? he said. 'I'm going next door to Habib's to work on some bombs,' he said. The signs just weren't there."–Fartmanz

Mother of 9/11 '20th hijacker': I was blind to son's extremism

Zacarias Moussaoui was arrested in the U.S. three weeks before the September 11 attacks and indicted in December 2001 as part of a broader terror conspiracy. His mother, Aicha el-Wafi, blames herself for failing to realize that her son had become involved with radical Islamists. She said he grew up fatherless and subjected to daily racism in France. According to a clinical social worker, mental illness runs in the family, and Moussaoui is delusional.

CNN.com readers had some sympathy for her as a mother, but not much. Shellysmom said, "She has my sympathy as a mother until she starts claiming that her son is innocent." 13pearls said, "She denies her son's involvement while doing all this; she has an agenda even if it's just to settle her own heart. I don't care about her."

PhDinSarcasm said, "How dare you, CNN! Trying to pull at our heartstrings by showing the grieving mother of this terrorist? Sorrowful music playing underneath? This is a time of our collective grief, fear, and anger as the tenth anniversary of the mass attack on Americans on American soil is upon us. Guess what, Mum: your kid is still breathing."

Others said that regardless of his upbringing, her son's extremism was his own responsibility. alison112 said, "I think anyone who does something like this is mentally ill in some form. No sane person would do something like this. But it doesn't excuse their actions."

2HONEST4CNN said, "Lost of people get bullied or discriminated against in all nations and they do not become terrorists. Only a few twisted souls with murder in their heart do that." angryasian said, "As an Asian growing up in the U.S., I was told to 'go back to my country' and made fun of for the shape of my eyes and the color of my skin. You don't see me running off to kill people."

Merryl agreed, "Excuses, excuses. I moved to Raleigh N.C. from Poughkeepsie, N.Y. when I was five years old and was ostracized for being Jewish. I endured all kinds of name-calling. Parents wouldn't let kids play with me because of my religion. Our next-door neighbors vandalized our property continuously because they were KKK-types. I could have become some kind of radical terrorist. Instead, I am a law-abiding citizen who still lives in N.C. (views are different now), and all of my friends are Christians."

But a few readers said el-Wafi's message was a good one. PSAGuy said, "This woman is claiming she missed the signs. She is telling everyone not to miss them in their own children. This country is FULL of parents who do not deal with their children, particularly teens. These kids need firm guidance and parents who are tuned in to their lives." TonyXL said, "No dad around. Only a matter of time before trouble began..."

The5thSeal asked, "What are the signs that someone will be a terrorist? I'm just curious."

Obama's problem? No one fears him

Syndicated columnist and author Roland Martin writes that while Obama has been aggressive in the foreign arena, he has given in on far too many domestic issues, with little to show for his compromises. "When will this president strike back and exert some presidential muscle?" he asks. Many CNN.com readers expressed similar misgivings.

zamboozled said, "Mr. Obama may be a wonderful, fair and decent man; so was Jimmy Carter and Bush Senior. That does not necessarily translate into a good president. The POTUS I think, especially in these uncertain times, needs to be a bit of an enforcer. So Mr. Obama's problem may just be that he's TOO nice."

FixedAngle said, "I do have to wonder about Obama's advisers. Are they giving him bad advice or is he ignoring good advice? A ten-year-old could have predicted this scheduling dust up."

YoYall said, "It's time for a parliamentary system in America, where the leader of the country is usually the leader of the majority in government. Then we might get some things accomplished. We are too immature as a nation to work out differences by finding middle ground and compromising the way Obama is trying to govern."

WidgetSmith said, "It ain't easy taking over after the worst president America has seen in decades who put the U.S. in serious debt, thereby severely limiting the room for action when later the financial crisis hit, followed by unemployment. Obama has had a really tough job straight from the beginning. I wish him success."

ACEPAPERMAN said, "I think it is still too early. He may be a lot smarter than you think he is. He doesn't have Roosevelt's overwhelming majority in Congress, so everything is a battle. You might do well to remember Clinton and his health care humiliation during his first term. It was during the second term he really started to catch fire. I believe it takes more time for any executive to have a significant impact on a society as complex as this one, so watch after 2012 and see if your criticisms are valid."

hendrix1 said, "I can't believe I'll probably have to pick between Obama and Rick Perry. ... How freaking pathetic."

zodnick said, "I couldn't disagree more with Mr. Martin. Just the possibility of having Obama for four more years scares the hell out of me!"

buger said, "I would rather have President Obama any time over the last President. I think we already had a president who scared people: W."

A field guide to the geeks of Dragon*Con

In celebration of Dragon*Con's 25th anniversary in Atlanta, Geek Out offered a guide to fan genres in the "untamed wilds of geekdom." With true geek attention to detail, some CNN.com readers added to the list.

Creatorus cosplensi said, "Notably missing here are the set known as 'cosplayers.' From the ubiquitous 501st to creators of costumes from obscure anime and manga, all cosplayers devote many hours to crafting their looks. Cosplayers are the face of geekdom, the ones who get all the photos because of their spectacular work."

Jason said, "There is a large group of geeks that the author missed. The 'old geeks' who long for the days of yore when geekdom was simpler and the media was much better: 'Sci-fi is fantasy garbage; Asimov wrote science fiction; there's a difference!' 'The game has a 4th Edition now? First edition is still the best!' and 'Those movies weren't even close to the books. Have you read the Silmarillion?!' would be typical comments from this crowd."

Do you feel your views align with these commenters' thoughts? Post a comment below or sound off on video.

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. leeintulsa

    This person, whathappens, may be on to something. Freedom.

    There was an episode of south park that nailed it. If anything can't be joked about then nothing can be joked about. Everything offends someone.

    I may find it distasteful. I'm an american, i remember what i was doing when it happened, blah blah blah.

    Someone might get hurt feelings? Even in a free world, people get hurt sometimes. Cuz people suck. Whatcha gonna do about that?

    September 3, 2011 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • harmonynoyes

      if u value the freedom to xpress yourself, you may have to "fight to the finish" to protect it
      if u believe you won't die for it,
      then duck tape your own mouth and throw yourself in the garbage

      September 5, 2011 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  2. banasy©


    I said the same thing, yesterday...that I'd rather find humor and laugh often than to be dour.
    I said I'd bet I'd live longer.
    I was treated to a (unwanted) lesson on how my stance is (of course) wrong, complete with caloric intake information on how (I suppose) laughing contains empty calories.
    At least I think that's what it said; my eyes glazed over.
    I'm an cup runneth over type a girl, rather than an empty and broken glass type.
    I may not live the longest, but I will have lived the happiest!

    September 3, 2011 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • leeintulsa

      @banasy: You know you are right. 'what we have here is failure to communicate. Some men, you just can't reach'

      September 3, 2011 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
  3. whathappens

    just lighten up people. Hell if u cant laugh at it... Then havent they won?

    September 4, 2011 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
  4. harmonynoyes

    if your enemy with weapons wants to take away your freedom and or kill you,
    laughing at them is probably not gonna be infectious
    not paranoia, just reality

    September 5, 2011 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Ken K San Diego

    In all the horror and tragedy of 911, if there was any good, it was the coming together of all Americans in a unity of Patriotism, unfortunately the chronic bipartisan clashes of current times have destroyed it.

    September 11, 2011 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
  6. ROFL

    LMAO. Terrorists.

    December 6, 2011 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse |
1 2