The Truth of Terrorism
It’s so easy to look at the world and the news and think the world is becoming a more violent place. We hear about bombings and be-headings, and we thank God they didn’t happen anywhere near us. A man shoots into a crowd of people in Vegas at a concert. A building explodes because someone was told they were killing themselves for a good cause.
Terrorism is all around us. It’s not just on the news. It’s not just in the Middle East. It’s right here. I don’t want to lessen the horror of terrorism for you. I just want to open your mind to the many types.
Terrorism is the spread of fear. We are all consumed by it. Not all the time, probably. We live in a rich country and suffer very little compared to most. But, we terrorize each other. We terrorize our country by hating our leaders and our neighbours. We terrorize people-types. We hate them for being different, or for believing something we don’t. We put fear into each other’s hearts by spreading lies and hurtful gossip. Terrorism takes many forms, and we don’t always realize that we’re doing it.
I worry about what people think of me, and what I do, all too often. Of course I do. We all do. Human beings are social animals built to live in a social environment. We’re not meant to be on our own. So, why is it that we are always pushing people away? Why are we always so cruel to one another? Most of the time we don’t even realize it. It is so easy to hear something about a person, and tell it to the next person, who tells it to the next. It’s so easy to hear about a friend’s suffering, and diminish it because we don’t understand it. It’s so easy to hurt ourselves—but, it’s even easier to hurt others. We might not even remember what we said or did to make someone hate or fear us. But we did, and they do. That’s the problem with humans. We don’t always think things through, and we have unreliable memories, so our world is skewed.
We commit terrorism when we cause harm. We might not equate ourselves with the man holding a machine gun, or the child with the bomb strapped to his chest. The problem is that we’re not going to change. We never will. There’s something in us that wants to see other people fail. We are social animals, but we are also, by nature, competitive. We’re okay with other people doing well (mostly), but don’t we all want to do just a little bit better?
Okay, maybe this doesn’t apply to everyone. I know the rest of you are probably saintlier than I. And I know, for the most part, when people strive for success (in whatever aspect), they’re not doing it to spite other people.
I know what it feels like to be the victim of terrorism. We all do. You trust a group of people and they betray you. It’s a pretty terrible feeling.
I gossip, and I worry that someone is happier than I, or making more money, or having a better life. In my own head, I try to tear them down and figure out how I can do better, be better. I’m not doing it to hurt people (at least I don’t think I am), but aren’t I hurting myself? It’s so easy to go onto Facebook or Instagram and see how great everyone’s life is. This person is travelling, that person just had a baby, and that guy just won a million dollars. Wow. I wish that was me. And then I go ahead and post a picture of my trip, or my awesome new thing-a-ma-jig, hoping someone else admires it or is proud of me. Human beings need constant approval just as much as we need to win. We are sick and we are broken. We are terrorists of each other, and we are terrorists of our own minds. We may not be the one with the gun, but we are guilty of firing.
Nothing will fix us, either. We will always fall.
However, I do think it’s good if we try our best to be good.