This Tuesday brings more world tragedy and ongoing fear. It seems that Europe is the new “front” in War on Terror, which often ends up being more of a war WITH terror. As I drove my DD to school this morning, I couldn’t help but think that I am glad that I live where I do. I am not in a metro area. I am far away from any major airport. And then, I caught myself thinking that and realized that although I don’t feel it as viscerally as those in Europe are today, I am living in fear. I think that most of the world lives with at least an undercurrent of fear in their lives nowadays. But, it isn’t all about terrorism, in the traditional sense. Some have gunshots ringing out in their neighborhoods at night. Others put themselves in harms way through jobs with police or military. Others fear that the color of their skin in certain locations may put them in harm’s way. Still others are threatened with sexual assault in their day-to-day travels. The fear is real. I live in fear of my daughter becoming ill again and not being able to “be fixed” this time. Fear is everywhere, but it varies greatly from one person to another. Fear, in itself, is not a “bad” thing. In fact, sometimes it can be a lifesaver. But, when fear becomes our primary reason for decision-making and allows us to dismiss other information, that is problematic. Today’s tragedy drives another stake of fear into the hearts of people everywhere. And I do mean everywhere. It isn’t just Europe. It isn’t just Syria. It isn’t just Israel or Palestine. The POSSIBILITY of attack is everywhere. It is just more likely in certain locations. And that likelihood must be considered when making decisions. The way we have dealt with these attacks since 9/11 seems to remain more or less unchanged. There is an outcry for patriotism and not letting the terrorists “win”. There is a commitment for “defeating” the enemy, despite the fact that the enemies are not well-defined, but rather an amorphous group that is loosely organized. There is some “attack” on the amorphous group (now, usually coming in the form of either drone attacks or much worse, an outcry to stop immigration or remove those immigrants living among us who look or sound like those guilty of the attacks) and there is an uptick in security measures, at least temporarily. But, almost two decades later, we are in much the same place.
I don’t have a better answer, but I do feel like what we have been doing is not working. And I feel like as fear builds, people become more and more willing to give up their values and their neighbors and their LIVES in order to be “safe”. And I feel like because we are fighting this “war” against such an amorphous group that is loosely organized, we try to create an enemy where one does not necessarily exist just in order to be able to look our enemy in the face.
I hope I’m wrong. I hope that we can stop this violence. But, as of now, I don’t see how it is going to happen.