Responding to Terrorism with Love

Any person or group that has ever inflicted terror on others, had a set of reasons for doing so.

Their reasons do not justify or dignify the outcome.

But by looking the reasons directly in the eye, and modifying our culture to specifically address those reasons, we can begin to heal the rot, dissonance, and alienation which fester at the core of human conflict.

Blocking people and cultures out. Refusing to listen. Having tunnel vision on our own ideals, while others are screaming with their actions and words, for us to pay attention. Lack of empathy. Lack of respect. Lack of compassion and understanding.

These are a few of the reasons that someone may choose to inflict terror upon us.

Of course, there are many more reasons. Complex ones. But point is, there are reasons.

“They are monsters,” is not a reason.

“They are insane,” is not a reason.

How does one turn into a monster?

How does one go insane?

Cracking down on immigration, sealing up the borders, and comprehensive vetting programs will not stop this problem.

The world has become as broken as it has, because we’ve given ourselves over to an illusion of separation and division.

Blocking people out is one root of the problem.

Categorically blocking people out even more will only contribute more to this scourge.

It would be wise to stop sweeping our problems under the carpet and hoping they’ll disappear for good.

We need to stop putting band-aids on geysers and then being surprised when the water breaks through.

To remedy this plague of hatred and division, our response should be of love and unification.

The answer to terrorism, both domestic and otherwise, is to open the world up. Not seal it up.

I understand that there are some people who would be more than prepared to exploit an open world with open borders.

The fear of what they might do, is exactly what propels us to reinforce the illusion of division.

Let’s stop operating from a place of fear.

Donald Trump just derided Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov for his cowardly act of terrorism in New York.

Calling Saipov a coward is dismissive and untrue. There’s no empathy there, not for Saipov.

The idea of empathizing with someone who ran over a crowd of cyclists and pedestrians is unthinkable to some people.

Why would I do that? Why empathize with him?

It’s not to excuse his actions. His actions break my heart.

What also breaks my heart is, the fact that we live in a society that pushes people to that point. The point of no return.

But beautifully, we can change it. I know we can.

But not by responding to it, in all the same ways we’ve already tried.

Not by responding to the problem from the same dimension of awareness that the problem originated from.

It’s time for a new way.

A way that does not involve putting band-aids on geysers of blood.

Also published on Medium.