As the people of Brussels, the country of Belgium and rest of the world try to deal with yet another act of violence, another act of terrorism, here in the United States, we recall the bombing Saturday March 19 in Ankara Turkey, as well as the terrorist attacks in San Bernardino, California, Paris, France, and even Boston Massachusetts, though it has been nearly three years. How can we not? We also wonder where and when it will happen again and fear that one day it will happen to us or someone we know either where we live or in a city nearby. We want more than answers, we want justice. We want revenge. We are all outraged that these acts of terrorism continue and we seem powerless to stop them. We are justified in our anger. We should not have to live in fear of being attacked. We want to destroy the enemies as quickly and ruthlessly as we can before they do the same to us. Some politicians, particularly some candidates for President, are calling for even more extreme measures than we have already undertaken. The punishments we exact must send a message, they say. Other more level-headed politicians and candidates for President also agree that we must do all we can to eliminate the threats, but we must not blame an entire group of people for the acts of some.
There is a bit of irony in the way some of us here in the United States react to acts of violence. For some, reactions are based solely on who has committed the violent act, especially when the violence happens here in our own country. Once the San Bernardino shooters were revealed to be Muslim and have terrorist ties, there was outrage and backlash against all Muslims. Something must be done to stop this type of violence from happening.
Yet when the acts of violence are perpetrated by white men, particularly, young white men:
Columbine High School Littleton Colorado, thirteen killed, more than twenty wounded,
Movie theater Aurora, Colorado, twelve killed and seventy injured,
Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, twenty children and six adults killed.
Movie theater Lafayette, Louisiana, two killed and nine people injured,
Church in Charleston, South Carolina, nine killed,
Umpqua Community College Roseberg, Oregon, nine killed and seven wounded, the reactions are mixed.
Some of us call for action, for dialogue and for solutions to end this senseless violence. Just as with acts of terrorism, we also wonder where and when it will happen again and fear that one day it will happen to us or someone we know either where we live or in a city nearby. We want more than answers, we want justice. We are all outraged that these acts of violence continue and we seem powerless to stop them. We are justified in our anger. We should not have to live in fear of being attacked.
Yet those who are most vocal about seeking and exacting the most punishing revenge on terrorists, including politicians and candidates for President, suddenly become rather silent. When they do speak, they say “stuff happens” or call for more guns or worse, rally the masses into believing that their Second Amendment right is in danger. Protecting one’s right to own a gun then becomes more important than than finding ways to save lives from such acts of violence.
But who has committed the murders should never matter. Finding ways to stop the killings must!
By Patricia Smith
The Moderate Voice