A week ago today terrorists struck Paris is several different attacks. Almost immediately people jumped online to throw out their takes on the events, but first I will start with some of the good I saw.
- People in the US offered their homes: Soon after the borders were closed another hashtag popped up where people were offering a place to stay for people who were stranded in the US due to canceled flights. I guess no one told us we were supposed to subject them all to rigorous religious tests before offering sanctuary.
- People in Paris opened their doors: almost immediately a hashtag popped up on Twitter to give people in Paris information on safe havens. People opened their doors for people who needed a place to go.
- People in Paris went out: The people of Paris went out and broke curfew. This is good. Terrorists win when we stop going out because we are afraid.
And now, unfortunately, the bad:
- Why Not Beirut, etc: Almost immediately, people jumped online to criticize people for caring about Paris and not Beirut, Baghdad and I even saw old posts about the attack in Kenya on the spring. Is it likely that some people only cared about Paris and not the rest because they are racists? Possibly. The reason Paris resonated more with me is because I’ve been there and we have talked about going back soon. It has nothing to do with race. I don’t even know the racial makeup of the victims. I would also feel a more personal impact of an attack on Santiago, Seoul or Zambia. Also, Paris makes it seem more likely that it could happen here again.
- Criticizing Student Protest: There were also a lot of posts online about the campus protests. The general gist being that the students protests are ridiculous in the wake of the events of Paris. You don’t have to agree with the students or their protest, but the idea that what they are protesting no longer matters because something else happened is stupid. Tragedy does not mean we should stop caring about anything else.
- Ban the Refugees: Now, a week later, the main new is that the majority of American citizens now what us to ban all Syrian refugees from entering the country. Apparently, people think the way to combat terrorism is to stop providing help to families who are fleeing terrorism. No one takes the time to read about the vetting process for refugees. No one takes the time to realize that this would be the hardest way for terrorist to get to the US. It would be easier t get a student or work visa, but it’s easier to go with the knee jerk reaction to discriminate against the innocent because of the race or religion. Good job America.
- Religious Test: Some are saying we are OK with the refugees as long as they are Christians. So we are going from religious freedom to a religion vetting before you can enter the country. There should never be a “religion requirement” for entry to the United States. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”
- Take Care of Ours First: The best way to get people to suddenly care about the homeless in the United States is to have a situation where we are asked to help others. I wonder how many of the “take care of our own” first people ever actually do anything to take care of our own. I agree that we need to do more to help the homeless in our country, but it doesn’t help them if we only care at the holidays and when they make a useful prop in a political debate.
- Donald Trump, Nazi: Trump wants us to take a lesson from Nazi Germany and force Muslims in the US to register so we can track them. He has no answer when asked how this is different than Nazi Germany because it’s not. I implore you to think about this when you consider supporting him or his database. Do we really want this America?
The way to respond to thee events is to do more of the first three and less of the latter 6. Offer help to those in need. Don’t hate others because they don’t look like or worship like you. Don’t assume an entire religion can be judged on the actions of a few. Don’t let the terrorists make you scared to leave your house. Be vigilant, be aware, but don’t stop living.