FEAR: a sometimes irrational anxiety over the unknown

fearI have spent the past couple of hours watching the report of a terrorist attack against the people of  Brussels, Belgium.  The pictures are graphic, the stories of people are tragic, and the effect of the attack is sobering.

It is clear that this is a terrorist attack.   There are reports of gunshots, Arabic shouts, and the reality is that this occurred just days after a dramatic arrest of one of the Paris bombers.  It is too early to say that it is Isis.  But there is a great probability that there is a connection to the terrorist organization.

The immediate result of the attack is exactly what the terrorists wanted:  FEAR.   That is why it is called terrorism.   The response to this kind of attack is the feeling of terror, an irrational fear that pervades a society in which such activity is, hopefully, rare.  The question in the minds of people all over the world is “What will happen next?  Will it happen here?  What can I do to avoid being a victim of this kind of attack?”

When that kind of fear becomes common, the terrorists have accomplished their number one goal.   People are afraid of them, and in their terror or fear  they will begin to make decisions which are destructive to a healthy society.    Already, just a few hours after the attack in Brussels, for instance, some of the candidates for President of the United States have begun to call for closing the borders of our nation.   Former Secretary of Homeland Securities in the US, Secretary Michael Chertoff, called that kind of response an over-reaction.  It is a knee-jerk reaction aimed more at gaining political points than making any kind of strategic response.

Obviously, the entire world is affected by this kind of attack.   And, yes, there is always the possibility that something will happen closer to home.   But to give in to fear as the immediate source of wisdom in this case is to render defeat.   This is a time for those who are trained and prepared to protect a nation to take the steps they have identified which will be of great help should there be an attempt to replicate or copy-cat this Belgian disaster.

That doesn’t mean that people all over the world should not be vigilant.  But it is important that the world continue to go about its business with confidence and faith in those who have responsibility for the safety of their nation.   It is with clear heads and unfettered eyes that any attempt to disrupt society further will be discovered and discouraged.

Fear will make Sikhs into Moslems, Moslems into terrorists, Arabs into criminals.    We went in that direction after 9/11, and it proved to be one of our greatest mistakes.  It is important that we reach out to the people of Belgium as people from throughout the world reached out to us.   And it is important that we firm up our protective measures.   But we must be careful not to let fear…especially irrational fear... take over.

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Photo Credit:  Scalywagandvagabond.com

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