The dread of evil is a much more forcible principle of human actions than the prospect of good… What worries you masters you. — John Locke
I found that quote in an article in the Post Magazine called Fear Itself, by Gene Weingarten. It’s an excellent review of terror, and our reaction to it, as human beings, Americans and how it compares to a country completely besieged by terror.
Life is fleeting, and death is always too close. As a country, we’ve collectively been faced with our own mortality in a shocking way. It’s been almost three years now, and that realization of our own possible end is always there, whether it’s a vague terror warning, or an airline flying just a little too low near work.
I was thinking about John Mohammed this morning, and the terror he created around here. I remember standing at the gas station around the corner in the middle of the spree, and looking into the face of an older woman and seeing terror. She was just getting gas, something we’ve all done a thousand times or more. But, the simple act of filling up our tanks had been turned into a gauntlet.
Well, I give up. I’m not going to live my life concerned about the evil some nebulous, undefined and vague threat may carry out. In most cases, those who are victims of terror couldn’t have done anything to prepare differently that would have saved them. They were just doing every day things, like getting gas, going to work, getting food or meeting friends,when their lives were taken from them.
We should fight terror. But, “terror” is an emotion. The only way you can fight it is by not being afraid anymore. The only way our government can fight it is by not frightening us anymore with vague warnings we can’t do anything about. The only way our government can really fight terror is to fight the sources of terror, not the emotion. To fight terror, we have to provide hope to the hopeless, help to the helpless,and freedom to the enslaved. And by freedom, I don’t mean dropping bombs on them.