"I'll do my best."
"By the book, you hear? We have to show him! We have to show him that our way works!"
-- James Gordon and Batman
"The Killing Joke"
I didn't sleep well last night. In fact, I'm kind of surprised I wrote that piece I did yesterday. The day is literally a blur in my mind. No progress on any of my projects, no conversations with anybody, I just kind of stayed locked in my own little bubble. Last night, I look at the clock, and I see it read 1022PM. I thought it was still about 5PM.
This morning, I wake up, and I still feel it. It's not shock. Given the number of terrorist strikes in Europe over the past few years, I kind of figured we were due. But the recent Paris attacks felt...different somehow.
I've sat here, drinking my morning tea (hot lemon with honey today), and I've finally figured out why the Paris attacks are so devestating, what makes them different. It all stems from the old saying, "There, but for the grace of God, go I." It took me a long time to figure out what that expression meant. It's an acknowledgement of the fragile nature of our life situations and the random nature of events. That whatever tragedy you are witnessing could very easily be happening to you, and being spared does not mean being protected.
And that was when it hit me. This could have happened to me. And it might yet.
Remember yesterday that I wrote how people were using the bombing to further their own agendas? That's the key. The terrorists haven't pulled another 9/11, they are going for smaller, more random strikes. Why? Because something like 9/11 unites everyone against them. People reach across their ideological divides and work together to stop a common threat. These smaller strikes? People aren't uniting, they are using the results to further divide. This divisionism, the breaking down of society, is what the terrorists want. The smaller strikes are working, and bad behavior rewarded is bad behavior repeated.
People like Donald Trump and Ben Carson, like Rob Lowe and Jeff Duncan (R-SC), like Ann Coulter and Bill Maher, are puppets. The terrorists pluck their strings, and they dance. They become a filter, altering the perception of the terrorists' actions, to prevent people from doing anything actually constructive to stop them, but to adopt processes and laws and behaviors that allow terrorist actions to thrive. Because it makes people do what makes them feel superior rather than addressing the real problem. The real problem takes time and effort and constant vigilance.
We can argue over who is ideologically superior some other time. Right now, there is work to do. Other countries in the world are finally starting to realize that these strikes mean it could happen to them, too. After decades of actions that emboldened terrorism, they need to find a way to put the genie back in the bottle.
Everyone is on the same page for once. This is our chance. Let's not blow it.