Terror is a very strong feeling of fear, something that causes very strong feelings of fear, something that is terrifying, or violence that is committed by a person, group, or government in order to frighten people and achieve a political goal.
The opposite of love isn’t hate. It’s indifference. Love and hate are often the same thing, directed at different subjects. What do you hate? And why?
Isn’t it true that the reason you hate that thing so much is because you love something else opposing it just as much?
Fear and hatred are very powerful. But they don’t work to solve anything.
Say a man who happens to identify as Muslim, among many other identities that makes up a human, is scared. He is scared that the hatred of people like him in America will cause America to target, bomb and kill people he cares about in America and in other countries, namely, the middle east. That fear drives him to start hating America and hating the possibility of what could happen. He wants to send a message so he thinks he is justified to terrorize a nightclub.
Somewhere else, a proud American may start to fear people like the previously mentioned man. And because this American loves their family and friends so much and wants them to be safe it may drive them to start hating what they were taught to fear. But fear and hatred is blinding. This person takes what the media and other leaders may point out as the motivation for terror. In this case, religion. And the person starts hating all of this religion, and may be driven to terrorize those people.
And so the cycle continues.
The cycle of fear. It’s exponential and plague-like in nature. It grows and festers. Eating away at us when we are trying to live our one life to its fullest. We go out to celebrate who we are in what should be a safe environment, only to have that stolen away from us by someone else’s fear, and their need to pass it on to others. When one person’s freedom to live is taken from them, it’s all of our freedoms being jeopardized. Our freedom from fear.
We can’t fear the unknown. We can’t be afraid of people who are different than us. That fear will turn to hatred. To close mindedness. To injustice. And while hatred is a horrible thing, indifference is bad as well. When we become indifferent, we become ignorant and uneducated. We close ourselves off to learning about new people and experiences and we close ourselves off to love.
Nobody is the villain of their own story. Everyone wants to be their own hero. Or the hero of those they love. We all feel justified to do what we do because we truly believe in our own cause. But nobody is ever justified to take another person’s life from them, and nobody should ever even feel that that is something they need to or can do in order to further their life’s cause. For as much as you love, you can’t love some while you hate entire groups of others in the process.
While there is no question that America needs laws passed urgently and harshly to prevent further atrocity, it is shameful that such laws even need to exist. We as humans need to grow up learning to resist hatred and fear. We need to strive to become better collectively and not only understand that love is love is love no matter what, but that we must all love openly and fully and everyone we can. Only love can open your mind to accept different ideas and different people. Only love is strong enough to quiet the festering fear and hate. We need to love so much that we have no room to hate and no need to fear.
As much as we hope, we do not live in a society where we all know better. One where we don’t need laws telling people how to be decent and respectful. So pass laws, please. Pass laws that can teach people what is right and wrong. That won’t allow people to harm others. The day may never come when we all learn to love and we don’t need laws to prevent people from doing awful things, from inciting terror. So in the meanwhile, don’t be indifferent. Don’t be afraid. Don’t let love be overpowered by hatred.