The Peculiar Nature of Terrorism

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Terrorism and violent political attacks, while relatively rare, strike a peculiar chord on citizens in advanced nations. We often take for granted the safety we have created for ourselves, the bubble-like environment we move about in our daily lives. The number of deaths we experience from terrorists represent a small percentage of total fatalities and have often been compared to getting hit by lightning and other rare occurrences.

We often take for granted the safety we have created for ourselves, the bubble-like environment we move about in our daily lives.

Yet this form of asymmetric warfare successfully changes our way of thinking and actions far more than other dangers. The peculiar nature of terrorism forces us to put ourselves in the place of the victims, mourn their untimely ends and then, drive us and our governments into a frenzy.

Major attacks such as 9/11 are the exception to the rule. Most of the massacres generate a death toll in the hundreds or less. Yet the unexpected nature of their occurrence and the innocence of those affected can force entire cities or even countries into lock down. Think about the Boston Marathon attack. Boston was paralyzed by two people acting alone.

And no matter how the target countries and citizens pledge not to fear afraid, the more you can see it in the frenzy our governments mobilize to prevent. When going to the movie theater doesn’t seem safe or when people take into account the likelihood of a bombing in their daily lives, the peculiar nature of terrorism is working it way deep inside our cultures.

Politicians can often contribute to the frenzy, but they are only reflecting the concerns of everyday citizenry. The reaction of the populace to a terrorist attack often demands security at any price. This results in excessive power given to the police, laws like the Patriot Act and the state of emergency in Paris and many other actions often difficult to reverse.

I’m not sure what cure to recommend for a stricken nation, but it seems decisions like these require the “pause” Republicans are recommending for other issues.

Third-World Terrorism Targets

parisIn the world of terrorism, it’s location, location, location. The destruction of the idyllic reverie of Paris startled the world. The attack the day before in Beirut did not. Not many know that 43 were killed there and more than 200 wounded. The Paris attack generated wall-to-wall cable coverage for more than a week.

The destruction of the idyllic reverie of Paris startled the world.

And what about the attack in Mali just yesterday. News programs are covering it out of necessity, because it relates to Paris, but if another terrorism attack hits a first-world country, who knows how we’ll react.

Of course, innocent civilians are just as vulnerable in Africa or Asia, but they’re used to violence and bombings, or so the story goes. But it’s clear from the media capitals of the world that a European life is more valuable than an African one, and especially more than the Middle East.

It’s not fair, but that’s how the world works. And eventually, the terrorists are going to figure that out, and that’s when we really need to worry. Of course, unlike much of the world, in America, we can go down to the corner store or the supermarket without wondering if we will encounter an explosion along the way.

But I have a feeling those days are numbered. As terrorists learn how to manipulate our system, and they will, we will have to join the rest of the world in a very tragic state of affairs.

One Man Against the System

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Some of my most liberal friends, and I say that as a form of praise, like Donald Trump, and I’m inclined to agree. Though I would never vote for him (Hillary has my heart), his whole style and shakeup of the Republican establishment is something to behold. His sizable ego aside, sometimes you just have to chuckle at his comments. Yesterday, I heard him parody Marco Rubio and actually laughed out loud. Trump said, and I’m paraphrasing, “Have you ever seen anyone sweat so much … and he drinks so much water. Glug, glug, glug, and then he’s sweating away again.” Of course, it has no bearing on Rubio’s skills, which are severely lacking, but Trump had the insult down to a tee.

The last time someone has taken on the system like Trump was Bob Dylan many years ago.

Despite their begrudging acceptance that Trump is in it for the duration, the other candidates don’t like him because nobody can control what he says. The last time someone has taken on the system like Trump was Bob Dylan many years ago. And that’s good company for a comparison.

Of course, if I were Hispanic, I would be troubled by Trump’s statements … as well as the rest of the Republican Party … and if you are a minority, today’s Republican Party is definitely not for you. And Hillary is starting to pick up her campaign now as she continues to learn how to become a better candidate. Hillary is actually a lot more feminine than she comes across on TV, and her humanity seems to get leached away by the coverage. Still, as she engages in retail politics over the next year, her compassion, intelligence and hard work will become known to all. Just like it was to New Yorkers when she became our Senator.