Let’s start out by declaring that what happened in Brussels with the ISIL attack is tragic. It is horrible, but not terrible if we don’t allow our fear to terrorize. Already the voices of outrage and hatred are rising, especially among GOP candidates for president. How does it help defeat Moslem extremism when they hear someone who may be the next president advocating banning Moslems from the U.S., issuing identity cards to Moslem Americans, closing Mosques, using torture, and the wholesale slaughter of Moslems in Syria and Iraq (aka “carpet-bombing”)? This reflexive, violent response is exactly what the terrorists wanted to accomplish: terror and irrational responses.
Hatred is a symptom of fear. If we allow ourselves to become fearful and act out of fear then they have won. When we act like them, we become them – and they have won. Our response should be guided by determination and, above all else, a rational response. Sure, we should use common sense to respond. For example, we should thoroughly vet every immigrant and if they are not cleared, then we should not allow them to immigrate. Sure we should hold the governments of the Saudi Kingdom and Iran politically and economically accountable for funding and encouraging these extremists. There are many ways to maximize our safety without compromising our freedom or principles.
Personally, I refuse to be afraid, and I refuse to allow fear to dictate my actions. I am more likely to be killed by a white man with a gun than a suicide bomber. Should we ban white males? I may not be able to physically strike back at terrorists, but the very act of defying their “terror” by refusing to comply with their desired response from me is one way to defeat them. After the Paris attack, Parisians responded by making it a point to go out to public places – restaurants and clubs – in an act of defiance. This is not a naïve position or one rooted in denial. I use common sense and stay alert, and I am not unafraid. I just refuse to give into it.