This morning I woke up to yet again, another news update on my phone of a terrorist attack that happened around the world. First thought that came to my mind was that this feeling of my heart dropping has become too familiar yet still sinks even harder in my stomach every time. “Every time.” How often is often enough to be able to say “every time?” When it comes to a terrorist attack, one too many.
Allow me to just put this into perspective for you. We have seen an ongoing series of grisly terrorist attacks over the past few years – at an airport in Brussels, in a concert hall in Paris, at a shrine in Bangkok, at a hotel in Mumbai, at a train station in Madrid, in the London Tube, in a nightclub in Orlando, another airport in Istanbul, at a marathon in Boston, in a skyscraper in Manhattan, and as of last night at a restaurant in Bangladesh.
Almost all of these attacks were carried out by the same particular terrorist group, leaving the world living in fear. Now I am not writing this to promote my political views on gun laws or start a discussion on the world vs. terrorism but simply to remind you that for us to live in fear is what they want. I will admit that this particular post comes from the fact that I have been living in fear. Since the most recent attacks, with there being one that I took personally, I’ve lived uneasy and with caution. It’s obvious to say that I shouldn’t be afraid but I know that many of us are. Since September 11th and especially in the increase of events happening recently, let’s be honest and admit that people are increasingly anxious, paranoid, suspicious, hypervigilant and generally freaked out.
Since the Orlando attack, there have been nights where I stayed up until 4 am reading every article I could find, wanting to know more about the victims and the terrorist himself. I have said “no” multiple times to my friends inviting me out to public events where I knew there would be lots of people. When I am out, I’ve found it habit to be aware of where all exits are and subconsciously plan a route of escape. I have had countless nightmares about me being a victim in an attack. As wonderful as it is, I have made extra efforts to tell people that I love them but still an act that is bittersweet and just this morning I spent my nose digging into books at Barnes & Noble on terrorism and the history of terrorist groups. Why I’ve been obsessed with wanting to learn more? I honestly couldn’t tell you but probably because the more that I know, the safer I feel. All of these efforts overall have been exhausting and as I sat on the couch with books on ISIS and Al-Qaeda hid under fashion magazines so people wouldn’t think I’m crazy, I closed the book shut and told myself that enough is enough.
I’ve realized that terrorism will never go away. Attacks will continue to happen and that this war is a never ending circle of acts of revenge for revenge. Terrorism itself is only a political and psychological tactic that unfortunately has it’s power to shape how we should function in society by decisions we make ourselves. We’re not the ones who should be living in fear. We need to recognize that fear is what determines a terrorist’s success and that they are the ones who are really afraid for they fear a world that values freedom. They fear a world of democratic institutions. They fear the free and peaceful expressions of ideas. They fear the rights of women and equality for all. They fear the dignity of gay people to live and love how they wish. They fear the power of rational truth and our pursuits for a better way of life – they are the ones who are driven by fear. Not us.
I realize that there are people in the world where terrorism is happening right outside their window every day, so bad that the media doesn’t even put that on display. All of these events underscore that we live in a world where anything can happen at any time but that does not mean that there is reason to stop living. We can only respond to the tragedies’ happening in the world by doing our best to go about our normal lives yet acknowledge that we are lucky to do so.
The Facts…recognize your risks are extremely low!
Your risk of being killed in a car crash (one in 19,000), drowning in your bathtub (one in 800,000), being struck by lightning (one in 5.5 million), dying from terrorism (one in 20 million).
Show Your Support…because a hashtag or a filter isn’t enough!
Bangkok – Make a Child Smile with FFAC.
Bangladesh – Donate to the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society
Belgium – Donate to the Belgium Red Cross
Boston – Run With Boston On Your Back.
Istanbul – Donate to the Turkish Red Crescent Society
Mumbai – Donate to the Indian Red Cross
Say a Prayer:
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9.