Respect for Life

Sadness. Anger. Fear.

All feelings we’re far too familiar with these days. We’re told again and again and again that we should be afraid of everything and everyone. Well, everyone who’s different, at least.

They’re out to get us, we’re told. We need to be vigilant and “if you see something, say something.” They’re monsters, seeking to destroy us, and the implied idea is that we should do it to them first.

Terrorist seek to disrupt and destroy the lives of those who disagree with them. They’re willing to die for their beliefs. There’s not much that can be done against someone willing to die for what they believe in. Once someone’s to that point, and ready to take action, there will be death and destruction.

How do you deal with that?

Some, especially right now, are calling for massive amounts of violence against thousands–if not millions–of people who are trying to get away from the same terrorists who have just struck again. Stop “them” by killing them before they decide to kill us. Or, at least, keep “them” all away from us, so it’s harder for us to be killed.

That’s… dehumanizing. That’s, at best, barely better than the view ISIL has of the people they’re killing on a daily basis.

It’s also the most surefire way to encourage more people to see you as inhuman and worth dying to eliminate.

Compassion. Respect for life. Freedom. Those are things that aren’t safe. They never have been. Each of those opens us up to being hurt and, yes, sometimes killed. But they’re also the things that can change the minds of people who’ve been told you are an inhuman monster that deserves to be eradicated.

They are humanizing things.

So, right now, as has been the case before, people are clamoring for immediate solutions that will make them “safe.” Most of those solutions, in the long term, do just the opposite. Harsh retaliation, which inevitably involved indiscriminate killing of many peaceful, innocent people, only gives our enemies more to use against us, more recruitment collateral, more reasons that others will buy into their hate.

Be angry. Be upset. Be afraid. But then get past those feelings.

Don’t let the disruption of your life persist. Don’t let fear or anger lead you to dehumanize large swaths of people who genuinely mean you no harm–people who are just as scared, angry, and sad as you about what’s going on.

When we stand together, we all stand together. There’s risk in that. But there’s also strength.

(And, no, I’m not advocating not going after the perpetrators of this nor am I a pacifist… it’s the dehumanization of “the enemy” that I have a big problem with, and being too broad about who “the enemy” is.)

There’s a vlog today. It’s somber… yet hopeful. I think.

Oh, and the Eiffel Tower peace image, that’s from an artist named Jean Jullien and it’s making the rounds.

Don’t forget that you have some say over what goes on for the next 100 days… click the big green button below here to get to the page where you can submit topic suggestions and questions (so I know what kinds of things you want to see go on in these videos).

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About Kier

I've been on the web since about 1994. I have a background in a lot of things, including a five year stint as a journalist and over a decade of helping people get their message out to the world.

I write on a number of subjects--everything from relationships to personal development to politics and every day life. I hope you get something worthwhile out of it.

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