What a crappy November it’s been. It’s now sleeting outside, but I am, of course, referring to the “cluster” of terrorist attacks across the globe. I started writing this piece with the intention of listing the attacks. When I started, I immediately realized a blog post was not an appropriate venue for it – not long enough. Let me direct you to this Wikipedia page instead: by my count, almost 350 people died and close to 1,000 were hurt between November 1 and November 20, 2015.
My intention was to talk about how clustered the attacks this month were, but then I looked back and realized that October sucked, too. As did September. August, ditto. Etc. There was no cluster in November. A group of complete assholes killed 130 innocent people in Paris in one horrific night, and the media covered every bloody second of it, making sure to stop for commercials at prescribed intervals. Show of hands; who knew that throughout the month of October a terrorist group (whose name I won’t mention so as to not give it additional publicity) killed 153 people in Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon and Chad? I certainly did not.
Watching the media coverage of the past couple of weeks, I’ve realized we are not asking the right questions. How we keep terrorism out is secondary. It’s a supply and demand problem: as long as there is demand for terrorism, supply will follow. How do we meet these needs before it’s too late, before they morph into violence, before death begins to seem like a desirable outcome as long as we, the target, suffer? That is the question. I do not know the full answer, but I know one little thing we can do this coming week.
As many of us travel across these United States to be with family and friends for Thanksgiving, let’s not shy away from serious conversation. As you put your hands together in thanks, think of those who aren’t in position to be thankful: the refugees, the persecuted, the poor, the underprivileged. Most of us do not have spare cash for donations, but each of us has one vote. Let’s support policy which helps those who most need it. We are right to be afraid – it’s a rational response – but let’s not let the fear make our decisions for us. Let’s not continue to feed the PR machine of terror with more material and their ranks with more recruits. The next few weeks are the best time to try to change hardened hearts, and each of those also counts for one vote.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.