I am sick of sitting before the television and watching non-stop coverage of how innocent people were murdered by yet another lunatic or group of lunatics for whatever reason they decide to do it. Right now, it’s Isis. Before, it was al Qaeda.
And in between those horror shows, the terrorism is brought to you by idiots homegrown: it’s some guy or group blowing up a Federal building, shooting up a movie theater or a school.
It’s sad, sick, cowardly little human beings wearing hoods, masks or trench coats; somebody, teeth clinched and heart pumping evil instead of blood, cowering behind the wheel of a rental truck packed with explosives. Or young, woefully misguided men and women flashing gang signs and killing one another over “turf,” when not a one of them owns a damn thing.
And what all these people have in common, besides being out of their damn minds, is that none of them see themselves in the madness of others.
Case in point: After the Paris massacre, I went online to read news coverage of the killings—-and below those articles, perused comments from readers who said we simply needed to eradicate all Muslims.
Now, just the week before, some of the same commenters—-I recognized the avatars—-were insisting that the young white man charged with threatening to randomly shoot black students on the University of Missouri had the right idea. They don’t see that what they advocated then and what they are in an uproar over now, is the same thing.
Indeed, whether they be Isis, al Qaeda, the Klan, urban gangs, the Tea Party, politicians and plenty others, haters all share a commonality: ignorance, intolerance, and a super hard line against anyone and anything they don’t understand that doesn’t look, live and think like them. Extremists? Hell, they’re all extremists.
That Saturday morning after the Paris attacks, I was back on the unrelenting news coverage. The night before, I’d gone to bed accompanied by remnants of the fear I felt right after 9/11. I–we—-know what the people of Paris are going through. We know how they feel.
Terrorism shrinks the world. No longer is Europe someplace “over there;” France might as well be Indiana. Or D.C. And the fear of the unknown can be paralyzing.
Which is why that Saturday evening, I did something I was reticent to do years ago in the wake of 9/11: I got dressed and ventured out into the public. Ended up at the Grove, a popular Los Angeles shopping and entertainment center, teeming with people.
The crowds were double what they usually are. Just my luck, the place was about to commence a Christmas tree lighting ceremony. The police presence, both visible, and so I was told, invisible, was overwhelming. And while patrons spoke of what was happening in Paris, they’d come out, resolute in their quest to have a joyous time. And we did.
Steven Ivory, veteran journalist, essayist and author, writes about popular culture for magazines, newspapers, radio, TV and the Internet. Respond to him via [email protected]