Two Morals We Learned From Europe This Week

Black Jacket or Islamic State Flag?!We learned two important lessons about the Islamic State from our friends in Europe today. And we learn something important about Europe as well: the people there can be as silly as they are here.

In Italy, the police were called. People saw a flag of the Islamic State hanging in a tree. Apparently, there have been months of threats by leaders of the violent group against the country of Italy. It’s all the Vatican’s fault. According to the Islamic State, Italy is “the nation signed with the blood of the cross.” I’m ill inclined to call people crazy, even ones who burn others alive, but this is just silly, childish stuff. But I don’t want to get sidetracked. The people in Italy are understandably concerned. And here was the flag of this group hanging in the little coastal village of Porto Recanati.

Or not. The police showed up and talked to many of the people who lived in the apartment building next to the tree. Eventually, they found someone who had hung some wet laundry out on her balcony. When she looked, she said, “Hey! Why is my black jacket hanging in that tree?!” The wind apparently blew the jacket off the balcony and into the tree, as you can see in the picture above. There is no word on whether the jacket was recovered. But the moral of the story is that not all black jackets hanging in trees are flags of the Islamic State.

Islamic State Terrorist Sarah Ericsson!Less than three weeks before Islamic State sympathizers didn’t start hanging flags in Italy, the terrorist group was not busy Sweden. A pedestrian was walking down the street, when she looked up and saw a large “IS” sign proudly displayed in an apartment window. As far as I can tell, “Islamic State” in Swedish is “Islamisk Stat.” So okay: IS could have indicated that some Swedish terrorist cell had decided to go public. But alas, it was not that.

What was really going on was that Sarah Ericsson had just turned 21 years old. So she put up two gold colored balloons in the window that read: “21.” Looked at from the other side, it does look vaguely like “IS.” But really? These big puffy golden balloons? It’s a stretch. But the moral of the story is that not all vaguely “IS” shaped balloons are terrorist symbols.

So we have learned a few things. First, not all black jackets hanging in trees are flags of the Islamic State. Second, not all things that read “IS” — especially if they are golden balloons — are terrorist symbols. I predict that next week, we will learn that not all black sweaters hanging in trees are Islamic State flags. Or that orange balloons that spell out “21” are not terrorist symbols. It’s hard to say. But there is a lot we have to learn!


I am not claiming Americans are better than the Europeans. Trust me. I am an American. I know that no people are more silly than Americans. And this is not proof that Europeans are as silly as we are. It is just my intent to show that they can be.

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