The terror is in how little we care

Leigh Alley, Staff Reporter

This year alone, there have been over 300 terrorist attacks. So it’s no surprise that with news story after news story on terrorism, we begin to find ourselves caring less and less.

Sure, we use hashtags like #prayforparis and try our best to help out the people affected by the tragedies, but that’s only when there’s a huge, notable massacre. Paris is normally a peaceful place, so when it was attacked, it hit people hard. Many people didn’t even know that on the the day before the attacks in Paris, two ISIS suicide bombers attacked Beirut, killing anywhere between 37 and 43  people. It’s not your fault if you haven’t heard. There are so many attacks nowadays, it’s getting difficult to keep track. That’s what is so sad: there are so many acts of people feeling the need to take stranger’s lives, we can hardly count them all, much less care about each one to the extent we should. 

It’s as though we see terrorism as a trend, not an actual issue that’s important. Facebook added the option to put a filter with the colors of the flag of France over the original profile picture, and many people did it. However, this was largely not out of empathy, but for the sake of joining a bandwagon. I haven’t seen anyone sporting the flag of Beirut or Iraq over their profile picture.

I’ve witnessed Sequoia students telling one another how little they cared about terrorism attacks of late—and I pondered whether an article about terrorism with references to Paris would be timely by the time the paper was released, I realized that terror incidents were so frequent that there was sure to be one around the time the paper came out.

If someone barged into your classroom during a test and opened fire, killing several classmates and injuring others, chances are you’d be terrified. However, when some far away shooter kills thirty people in the Middle East, you might only see it as repetitive. As soon as tragedies either affect us directly or make a large impact like being in an important city or causing Tumblr to change their logo for a day, we become activists. But as long as the terrorism stays far away, it’s not our problem. We need to be activists not just when tragedy affects the western world, but when it affects any corner of the world.

I’m not saying this makes you a bad person. You may just be a victim of modern society’s inevitable desensitization.

You don’t need to make a drastic change to your lifestyle. Maybe we should just try to be a little more aware of terrorism when it happens. Unfortunately, it’s hard to find out about lesser known terrorist attacks because of the media’s focus on bigger incidents.  Pay equal attention to lesser known terrorist attacks. Before you go changing your profile picture, maybe do some research. Watch the news every once in a while, or read beyond the front page of the New York Times. Teachers, start the discussion in your classroom and get students thinking about the impact terrorism has on people and their families and friends. It can help society to start to understand just how bad terrorism is, and who knows, maybe slow it down.