Anger and dis­be­lief in democ­racy may fuel ter­ror­ists

North Penn Life - - OPINION -

When­ever an act of vi­o­lence oc­curs in the United States, the coun­try sud­denly awak­ens to pos­si­ble ter­ror­ism. This oc­curred in 2001 with the tragic at­tacks on the World Trade Cen­ter and again at the Bos­ton Marathon in 2013.

We can­not be­lieve that any­one would take the lives of in­no­cent peo­ple who were out to en­joy a race on the Mon­day of April known as Pa­tri­ots’ Day. It hap­pened just be­fore 3 p.m. as ball bear­ings, nails and BBs maimed peo­ple near the fin­ish line killing three peo­ple and in­jur­ing more than 180.

Ter­ror­ism seems to be syn­ony­mous for damp­en­ing plea­sure. We as­sume the per­son or per­sons re­spon­si­ble for th­ese hor­ren­dous acts are sim­ply un­bal­anced psy­cho­log­i­cally. We have a strange sense of self-pro­tec­tion know- ing we were not on the scene of the mul­ti­ple in­juries and death. We also have a pe­cu­liar sense of self-sur­vival ounce the hor­rific mem­o­ries fade and our coun­try re­turns to nor­malcy.

While the at­tack on our cit­i­zens is fresh in our minds, we fear more ter­ror­ism and hope there were only one or a few per­pe­tra­tors of in­jury and death of the in­no­cent vic­tims among us. We hope they will be caught and all will be well again.

The time has come for us not to wait for the all-clear sound, but to try to un­der­stand why any­one would carry out th­ese crimes against the in­no­cent. We hope the per­pe­tra­tors are caught and life re­turns to nor­mal. Un­for­tu­nately, his­tory tends to re­peat it­self.

A ter­ror­ist feels an­gry and be­lieves no one will lis­ten and un­der­stand the prob­lems they per­ceive. The ter­ror­ist feels help­less and that vot­ing and elec­tions will never solve the prob­lems fac­ing a small group of un­happy peo­ple or large num­bers who can’t get enough at­ten­tion. A ter­ror­ist be­lieves the only way to change the course of his­tory is with poi­son or bombs loaded with ball bear­ings.

The ter­ror­ist may seek oth­ers who are just as an­gry. It is the shar­ing of plans that some­times alerts the au­thor­i­ties that dan­ger is com­ing.

There is a strong pos­si­bil­ity that a po­ten­tially danger­ous per­son will seek out oth­ers who are sym­pa­thetic to a vi­o­lent com­ing event.

The an­gry in­di­vid­ual may feel power by pro­mot­ing a va­ri­ety of ter­ror­ism. It is not un­likely that mail­ing en­velopes with the deadly poi­son, ricin, may cause end­less anx­i­ety. This oc­curred when an en­ve­lope with a threat­en­ing note was sent to a mail pro­cess­ing fa­cil­ity in Greenville, S.C., in 2003.

The per­pe­tra­tor will some­times send warn­ing mes­sages through the mail. It is of­ten nearly im­pos­si­ble to find out who the per­pe­tra­tor is al­though quite of­ten a per­son is so un­happy with life in Amer­ica, it be­comes nec­es­sary to send a mes­sage ex­plain­ing why all the ter­ror­ism was car­ried out.

Since 1970 there have been 47,000 bomb­ings, 14,000 as­sas­si­na­tions and 5,300 kid­nap­pings around the world. Be­tween 1970 and 2011 the world has been vic­tim­ized by 104,000 ter­ror­ist ac­tiv­i­ties with 2,362 oc­cur­ring in the United States, ac­cord­ing to the Global Ter­ror­ism Data­base.

In­ter­est­ingly, Bos­ton has been the 14th most fre­quently tar­geted city in the past 40 years in the United States.

Most ev­ery­one knows some­body who is very un­happy with life in Amer­ica. We should all be on the alert for the per­son who goes be­yond vot­ing to bring change to this coun­try.

Not ev­ery un­happy per­son will turn to vi­o­lence. How­ever, anger and pol­i­tics should raise our level of alert­ness.

Health & Science Dr. Mil­ton Fried­man

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