Monday, March 28, 2016

Why terrorism should change my life

Because it's as much a tragedy that Justin and Stephanie Shults from the United States died as it would have been if I had died.  And as an American, I try to remember that they were my neighbor, my kin in country.  As were all who were killed in Brussels.  But they were doubly so, since they were also fellow Americans, archaic as that phrase may sound.

I realize we don't want to fly into a panic over terrorism, or overreact, or shut down and refuse to live.  But going on as usual with the evil assurance that statistics show if terrorists strike, it will be some other poor, dumb family who suffers the loss is a verdict against our post-modern age, not a valid comfort based on realistic perspectives. After all, as much as we might hate to read what happened to that bright, happy couple, the fact that it was them and not me is one of the main selling points from our leaders over why I shouldn't get worked up and let terrorism change me.

If we're honest, we would admit that, despite the popular narrative, terrorism is thriving due to our post-modern detachments to anything beyond ourselves as much as it is to our overreactions.  In fact, it is our detachment, our willingness to shrug and accept whatever as long as it doesn't personally impact us, that the terrorists seem to be counting on the most.

I've often wondered if that's why since the Iraq Invasion it seems as though the insurgents went out of their way to cause casualties, but cause them on a limited basis.  It's why ISIS does what it does, periodically, with purpose, over the course of weeks and months.  No major attacks killing in the thousands that might jolt us into action.  Though 9/11 didn't do the trick.  No matter how many of us hoped that such a nightmare vision as watching the towers fall would jolt us back into a nation with something more on its radar than the next smartphone app, it just didn't do it.  But perhaps as long as terrorists keep the body count regular, but low, they can count on a civilization that actually takes mathematical assurance of others's deaths as a basis for comfort to be the civilization they ultimately can overcome.

I have no doubt that there will be a nuclear strike some day in the future.  I fear I will live to see it.  And yet, even then, I fear more that our complacent, apathetic society of perpetual denial will find a way to crunch the numbers and remind us that 20,000 people killed is still fewer than the number of people killed on the roads every year.  So go on and don't worry.  Focus on yourself. Know that even a nuclear strike will likely impact someone else.  Or something like it.

So yes, I want things to be different.  I want our lives to be different.  I want us to be every bit as shocked by the deaths of the Shultses as we should have been by 9/11 and that were on that sunny Sunday morning at Pearl Harbor all those decades ago. And I want us to be worried, not because it could happen to me, but because it will happen to somebody. If we were to break the chains of post-modern apathy, then who knows?  The prospects of eternal terrorism from the religion of peace might not seem so inevitable after all.

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