This is a bit out of the norm for me. I generally try to avoid politics online these days, mainly because here in the States, nobody is solving anything. Social media can generally be boiled down to
- The “ZOMFG THIS IS JUST LIKE HARRY POTTER ONLY THE BAD PARTS AND WE’RE IN THE #RESISTANCE BECAUSE WE’RE TOTES HEROES” camp
- The “THIS IS WHY TRUMP WON #MAGA #MAGA #MAGA” camp
- And finally, the “STFU THEY BOTH SUCKED” camp.
I more or less belong to the third one. We have the government we deserve because we keep falling for stupid, divisive garbage and patting ourselves on the back for being better than the other guy.
The problem is, when you’re the biggest gun on the block, and everyone else is kind of counting on you to keep that thing in working order, and then you neglect or abuse that gun and let it fall out of working order, suddenly a gang of renegades moves into the neighborhood and starts doing whatever they want.
For those of you not following the metaphor, the gang is ISIS.
For the umpteenth time in a few short years, some ISIS a–hole committed a terrorist attack because of his backwards, Stone Age beliefs, that people of his kind are better and people not of his kind are not even people, and should be slain for it.
A sensible response would involve hunting these clowns down, along with everyone who ever financed, aided, or abetted them, and permanently removing their ability to organize and harm other people. Maybe that means seizing their assets. Maybe that means destroying their infrastructure. Maybe that means catching and executing them. The point is, we’d do it.
But we’re not. We keep allowing things like this to happen. Somehow, the status quo wherein peaceful citizens in peaceful cities get killed all the time is preferable to hunkering down and actually solving the problem.
We have two ruling political parties who don’t want to solve that problem. They want the problem blamed on the other side, in exchange for power, so that they can…keep the problem going. A cultural and media behemoth works at the beck and call of these parties to keep them in their frenzied state of pride, contention, and mistrust.
The lives of our military don’t matter to them. The lives of civilians don’t matter to them. All that matters is power, and capital, and whatever they can generate from ongoing news coverage of the carnage.
We’ve had these attacks stateside, we’ve had them all over the world. For the first time, I’m seeing the aftermath of an attack in a city where I lived, if briefly. I served an LDS mission in Barcelona, Spain. While I was only in Barce proper for a month, I visited frequently for numerous reasons. I’ve walked that Rambla. I’ve shopped at those stores, eaten at those restaurants, mingled with those tourists, tossed coins to those street performers. I’ve sung in a plaza not five minutes from there, surrounded by other missionaries from all over the world.
The Spanish people are my people. I’ve been among them as they’ve dealt with this before. In March of 2004, terrorists attacked a train station in Madrid, roughly 200 miles from where I was living (Zaragoza.) It was 9/11 all over again, with some cultural differences.
Later, while we were weathering a recession in the USA–and then slowly coming out of it–Spain was hit with one twice as hard. In fact, if you were under 30, you had a 50% chance of being flat-out unemployed. To this day, it’s still close to that bad. One of my friends just moved back to the States (dual citizen) to find work here because of how hard it is over there.
My point is, Spain is like my backyard, or the next neighborhood over. They’re not just foreign names on a map on the news. This particular attack…it hits me in a way that the others haven’t. Part of that is the fact that it’s about the fifteenth attack since 2014, when ISIS came into power.
And there’s no end in sight.
We’ve become comfortable with this. Somehow we’ve reached a point where this is better than solving the problem.
I’m used to that from the government. I wish we here on the ground were better, though. I thought we were. Thought I was.
I hope we can, as a nation, as a species, as a planet, get our crap together before anyone else has to suffer like this.
Or, we can go back to our stupid hashtags and backpatting, and watch some other insane whackjob do this in another country.