Think For One Second, Would You?

Last night in Paris a group of religious extremists attacked innocent French citizens. The Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) took responsibility: 

Time.com: “Eight brothers carrying explosive belts and guns targeted areas in the heart of the French capital that were specifically chosen in advance,” the ISIS statement said. That included the stadium where “that imbecile François Hollande” was attending a major soccer matach against Germany and at the music concert, where “a party of perversity” was in progress.

While the Charlie Hebdo terror attack is still a wound that is healing for many, this new round of attacks is far more disturbing.  In a disgusting disregard for human life, the extremists killed indiscriminately.

This is an act of war that we pretend doesn’t exist in our world.  We sit at home in front of our televisions, sipping our wine and forget about the violence happening in other parts of the world.  But for many, this violence is an all-too-real part of daily life.  Millions of Syrians are fleeing their homeland to get away from the people who do this.  These people, just like you and I, want to get away from the violence.  For some reason however, those who are fleeing for their lives are met with violence and hatred when they arrive.

Imagine the American government is at war with all people of the catholic faith, because the government itself is run by evangelical christians.  Imagine that both sides are killing indiscriminately and that you are just an innocent person caught in the middle.  Imagine your friends and family have been killed by this war.  Now imagine that you come home from work to find not only your home, but your entire neighborhood has been completely destroyed by a bomb.  It might make you want to go to some place where that kind of thing doesn’t happen.  That, my friends, is the kind of story the vast majority of refugees have to tell.

Now friends, I need to emphasize this.  Talking about refugees when there has been a terrorist attack is a political maneuver.  Terrorists and refugees are completely unrelated.  The only connection between the two is that refugees are trying to get as far away from the terrorists as they can.

And allow me to mute the nay-sayers to this by also saying that we don’t get to pick the individual people asking us for help.  There are going to be some bad people who come across and it’s a scary situation for everyone.  But we cannot treat refugees like terrorists or even refer to them in the same context.  There is the possibility that a handful of the millions of people trying to escape may have violent intent.  But we need to rely on the trillions of dollars we invest in our counter-terrorism efforts to thwart those attacks.

And before I continue I’ll just make this final point about this.  The September 11th 2001 attacks happened in the United States and none of the people involved came over as refugees.  They wanted to get into the United States, and they did.  They did it with valid passports, money and the means to walk in legally.  The refugee crisis is something we need to handle carefully, but it is a different situation than how we handle terrorism.  And that’s all I will say about the refugee ignorance.

So anyway, as I scrolled through Facebook & Twitter this morning I was greeted by some fantastically ignorant posts about many aspects of the situation:

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It’s amazing to me that ignorance is met with more ignorance.  Rather than battling ignorance with intelligence, people react with a shortsighted lack of focus.  More importantly, people react with the same disregard for human life these terrorists acted with.

Grow up people.  The world is a far more complicated place than you know (apparently) and your knee-jerk reactions are a prime-example of just how ignorant some people truly are.  It’s disgusting.  You are what’s wrong with this world.  Take your mindset and put it in a muslim and you’ll have a muslim-extremist.  So what does that make you genius?  An American extremist?  A christian extremist?  Whatever you think, you have the same mindset the terrorists have.

My suggestion for you is simple; think about how you can help the world.  Research what you read.  Understand the situations that are going on the world.  And most importantly, do something about it.  Get active.  Help the world in a positive way.  Saying ignorant things loudly does nothing to help.  Figure out a way to contribute to a positive solution.  Have respect for all human life.  Make a difference.  At the very least, stop making the world a shitty place to live for those of us who care about it.

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