Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Are we becoming desensitized to terrorism?

Yasser Arafat isn't a name that raises eyebrows these days.  Back in the '70s & '80s  he was on everyone's radar.  Arafat died over a decade ago, but he was masterful when it came to instilling sheer terror.

Today, a bomb in an airport in Brussels got the attention of most of the world.  It's apparently in retaliation for the capture of one of the terrorists from last year's attack in Paris.  Events like this will no doubt instill fear in innocent people and paralyze that region for days to come.

Unless you have friends or family on the ground in the midst of such a situation, I wonder how long until these senseless acts of violence no longer get our attention?  Sadly, politicians politicize these inexcusable actions, and Cable news sensationalize them as well.  And we the people who are bombarded with images and soundbites are left trying to process how these barbaric rampages could happen in the 21st Century.

Do you remember 9/11?  People were glued to their television sets.  Air traffic was halted.  People gathered in churches in record numbers.  Now?  Now, we remember San Bernardino as the FBI verses Apple more than we remember the victims.   The events in Paris are blurry.  And no one is even talking about Garland Texas.

What can we do to avoid becoming numb to the random acts of terrorism?  Maybe not much, or maybe a lot?  It all depends on how we choose to value life, liberty, freedom, and how well we can unite behind our fellow man.

I think the longer we as a culture are entertained by gore & violence in our video games and movies, the less chance we have of really feeling he impact of terrorism.  The longer we fuel our ethnocentrism, the harder it will be to feel true empathy for anyone who suffers an attack on foreign soil.  And, until we find a way to reach the hearts and minds of our enemies without resorting to blowing them up, then we will resign ourselves to simply accept terrorism as the new norm.

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness;
only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate;
only love can do that.
Hate multiplies hate,
violence multiplies violence,
and toughness multiplies toughness
in a descending spiral of destruction....
The chain reaction of evil --
hate begetting hate,
wars producing more wars --
must be broken,
or we shall be plunged
into the dark abyss of annihilation."

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.Strength To Love, 1963

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