There is a village far, far, away, with a name none of us can pronounce in a part of the world we know nothing accurate about. In that village a boy lives with his angry abusive uncle because his parents were killed two years ago in a mortar attack. A mortar attack is the kind of experience most of us will never understand. This boy understands it all too well. For the first time in his life last year he went to school, but three months ago his school was destroyed by a mortar attack. His Uncle talks hate all day long. His Uncle’s friends do too. As a boy, he is filled with fear and anger. As an adult it’s hatred through and through.
We get this – sort of. But most of us take comfort in thinking “we” are better than that. We are different.
In the town you’ve lived in all your life, just down the street, or maybe a few miles away lives a boy. He’s learning from his father it’s OK to hit women. He knows not to use the “N” word at school, but it’s common vernacular at the dinner table. His father has been out of work for two years and he’s angry and ashamed. It’s because of those other people, you name it, mexicans, blacks, orientals… They are hungry a lot of the time, literally. Sometimes his mom has to go to the foodbank and his father belittles and shames her for it. This boy has started ditching school because he gets beat up and bullied almost everyday he goes. No one cares. As a boy he’s scared and filled with anger.
Who do you think he becomes as an adult?
Not all hateful, angry, fearful people grow up to be terrorists. But some do and other’s grow up to be mass murders that kill children in schools or people in malls and theaters. Some become rapists. Others become the abusers of future generations who breed more abusers.
You and I sitting in our homes watching the news, cannot possibly understand the mindset that drives the kind of behavior makes the headlines. When I say do not rush to judgement, I’m not suggesting these acts of violence are not worthy of being judged for the horrific crimes they are. I’m simply saying the world is a complex place and trust me, you don’t want to understand those complexities. Understanding wouldn’t make you feel better, or safer.
When our sense of safety is threatened we lose our sense of rationality. Quite literally, being afraid makes you a little, or alot crazy. And guess what. We’re all afraid and we’re all a little more afraid today than we were yesterday and the truth of the matter is maybe we should be afraid.
It’s natural and quite possible appropriate to be terrified. That is the product of a terrorist act.
But if you want to be the hero today, be afraid, and let it be just that FEAR.