We all know who the terrorists are, don’t we? I mean, isn’t it obvious? Those evil people who indiscriminately kill innocent civilians, justifying it in the name of some greater good, but we know their “greater good” is just plain evil.
Many in the United States are afraid of the next terrorist attack on US soil. We fear that terrorists “out there” are trying desperately to get into the US in order to destroy our way of life, including our sense of safety and security. And so we feel that we must keep the terrorists out! Here’s a little true or false quiz that may change your view:
- Since 9/11, the United States has accepted 784,000 refugees. During that time, three refugees were arrested for attempting to plot terrorist activities – and two of those three refugees were falsely accused.
- Jihadist attacks from 2005-2015 years have killed 24 people (if you add extremists it goes up to 71) whereas in the same time there have been 301,797 gun deaths.
- 2,996 people were tragically killed on 9/11. In response, the United States enacted the War on Terror, which has killed a conservative estimate of 3 million people in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan.
- Drone strikes kill far more than their intended targets. In one 5-month period between 2012 and 2013, nearly 90% of American drone strikes in Afghanistan killed people they were not intended to kill, including civilian guests at a wedding party.
Change Your View: If you answered true to all of those questions, you would be correct. Of course, we mourn all deaths at the hands of terrorism. To change our view is to recognize that though we denounce their terrorist actions, we rarely see our own acts of violence as terrorism.
That’s because we hide from the truth that our own violence terrorizes our victims. All humans think that their violence is good and just, while their enemy’s violence is evil and full of terror. In other words, nobody thinks their use of violence is evil; rather, we all view our violence as a just means to a just end.
But what if we changed our view? What if we began to realize the truth that all violence is an act that terrorizes? We might realize that all acts of violence, including our own, lead to a cycle of retributive violence that will continue to terrorize the world. If we changed our view, we would be much more critical of terrorism, especially our own.
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