Of course I am. Terrorism isn’t just crime. Crime is bad of course, but crime has always been around. Pass all the laws you want, and people will still rob and rape and murder.
But terrorism is something else. They say terrorists want us to be afraid. Possibly. That’s a natural reaction as I see it. There is good fear. Fear isn’t always bad. It keeps us from doing things like playing in traffic and letting our babies wander around on the edge of the Grand Canyon. Perhaps terrorists want us to descend into hysterics. That’s never good.
I have a feeling, if you get right down to it, that what terrorists want is exactly what we’ve been doing. Crawling into holes, denying the obvious, falling on one another, splitting our society, sowing divisions, lying to ourselves – all the things that come with societies in trouble. I’d say that since 9/11, we’ve pretty much reacted in all the ways that the terrorists could have hoped.
Sure, on a spiritual side, we’re told to fear not. And that’s fine. For myself, in my best days, I can look at this life compared to the eternal and take heart. But I also have to think of others – my loved ones, my boys, my friends and neighbors. For them I fear. I’ve noticed an uptick in Christians who talk of martyrdom with all the seriousness that I talk of taking Kamchatka in a game of RISK. If I’m prepared to die for the faith, hurray for me. But it’s not for me to stand by and let others be the martyrs so I can display my righteousness.
When it comes to terrorism, I fear because I know it’s not just about the numbers. It’s about a assault on the very fabric of the society I’m bequeathing to my children and grandchildren. I can run the numbers all I want. I can take comfort in the fact that more people die in antelope attacks every year than terrorist attacks. But in the end, I know deep down it’s more. And I fear, when I turn to math equations or gun violence or cancer deaths or whatever to justify downplaying terrorism, that is exactly what the terrorists want me to do.