I would like to preface this entry: I do not dismiss the tragedy of what happened in Paris. I stand strong with the Parisians who deal with the loss of family and friends. I stand strong with them as many did with the US on September 11th, 2001.
Now that I have said that, I’d like to address the attitude we often bring to these tragedies. First we feel rage and our outrage feels the need for an outlet. Often that outlet tends to be social media. We post images, and we spread fear. We denounce terrorists and talk about how horrible it is. That leads to the next attitude, fear. We start to worry and wonder, what if that were my home, what if this is going to happen again? If they hit Paris, who is next?
Then we experience sorrow, for the record I think this should be the first, but it rarely is. We realize that the pain and the suffering the victims must be feeling. We engage our empathy, and we reach out a helping hand. We update profile pictures and spread the word, except now instead of fear we spread messages of solidarity and support.
Something else happens then, something that I find deplorable. There are two sides to this next stage, and both are equally deplorable. First, individuals seek to capitalize on the terror by posting and reposting images with new taglines or headlines and they try to gain popularity. Likes, Upvotes, +1s, whatever medium they are utilizing. This sickens me. The tragedy of others should never be a means to gain recognition for yourself. Second, are the one’s who recognize this capitalization and go on a tirade against everyone and everything posted. They attack individuals who are truthfully standing with solidarity along with those trying to capitalize.
In the end, the terrorists have already won. The goal of a terrorist act is to spread fear, malcontent, and discord. In responding to media the way that we do, we perpetuate their agenda. Am I saying to ignore the acts altogether? No, I am not. That would only prove to be more discordant. No, I am saying that our first response should be empathy, a sympathy for what has happened and action on our parts to stand with whomever is attacked.
I am not well to do, I am a middle-class American living from paycheck to paycheck, so I’ll do my part by giving awareness to the needs of the Parisian people. Maybe, I’ll be able to work in my budget to buy a bottle of Parisian wine and support our allies across the sea. However, I am not going to allow joy, laughter, writing, reading, and all the things I enjoy to die. I refuse to allow any act of terrorism to steal my sense of humor, to steal my passion for life, or to steal my empathy.
Growing angry at a joke, or sowing discord when harmony is what we need, is not the way to combat the feelings of terror that we will feel when acts like this happen. Instead, we should continue our lives; we should show that we care without giving voice to the terrorist organizations. I think that media outlets should simply leave out any kind of recognition for the terrorist acts, reports need to be heard, but the organizations that perpetuate this violence don’t need the recognition. Do not give them a voice by mentioning their name, or their organizations name. Do not sow fear. Media and News outlets should stand up and show empathy for whomever suffers from such an attack. Reports should focus on what can be done to help more than what has been done to harm.
Food for thought. Until next time folks.
Your Friendly Neighborhood Author,