SAN DIEGO, June 6, 2017 – Americans once believed in the invincibility of America and that following Pearl Harbor, war and terror would not come to these great shores. The attack on New York City’s Twin Towers killed that belief.
Writing for “The American Interest”, then Vice President Dick Cheney suggested that terrorism might not have an “end date” and that it might never be possible to say, “There, it’s all over with.”
And Cheney might have been entirely correct.
Global terrorism is on the rise; it increased by 25 percent in 2016, according to Breitbart News. The five countries with the highest number of terrorist attacks were Iraq, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Syria and Pakistan; they accounted collectively for 72 percent of all deaths from terrorism in 2015, according to CNN.
If attacks were up, they were less deadly; CNN reports that deaths caused by global terrorism are down by 10 percent. However, there was a 650 percent increase in fatal terror attacks on the 34 industrialized countries which make up the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development), which include the U.S., UK, Germany, France and Turkey.
This past Saturday night, London Bridge was the scene of a brutal terrorist attack which killed seven and injured dozens more.
Traveling from London Bridge to a popular night spot, terrorists drove a white van into pedestrians, then poured into the crowd to brutally knife people simply enjoying the sites and having a good time.
The Islamic State claims responsibility for this attack, one of three terrorist attacks that night.
Being vigilant of terrorism is good global policy. Though terrorism remains concentrated in certain countries, it continues to spread.
Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May said “enough is enough”. According to the New York Times, the British legal system has stalled May’s attempts to make Britain safer via such things as debates over defining extremism that would hold up in the courts.
As open as Britain is, with a diverse cultural and religious population including a London Mayor who is Muslim, the attacks continue.
Most everyone has a phobia, which is a persistent anxiety and or fear of something. A new word, terrorphobia, is being used more frequently to describe the growing fear of terrorism.
Affecting approximately 50 million Americans, according to Medical News Today, phobias are more likely to afflict women than men. Whether it is fear of dentists (dentophobia), dogs (cynophobia), snakes (ophidiophobia), heights, spiders, situations, places or activities, phobias may affect anyone at anytime.
Phobias are a type of anxiety disorder. They are more common in industrialized nations. There is no known predictor as to when a phobia might occur or in which socioeconomic status they might be more prevalent.
Terrorism works on the basis of fear, and fear creates both physical and psychological responses in the human body: Terrorism is unhealthy.
“Terrorism, by its nature, is a very ineffective military tactic, but it’s more geared toward instilling fear,” says Mario Scalora, a psychology professor at the University of Nebraska, published in US News and World Report.
Scalora offers suggestions for sending a message to “show that we can live our lives and that we’re moving forward” and not being stopped by terrorist activities:
1. Recognize your emotions and do not let fear prevent achieving goals and living your life.
2. Put it into perspective and access credible sources such as the Centers for Disease Control: Far more die from household falls than terrorism.
3. Take a media break and relieve negative information and stress.
4.Turn to your default (healthy) coping mechanism and look to your past coping successes for strength.
5. Take control and recognize your own role in your safety.
6. Make connections and do not become isolated.
7. Know what’s out of your control.
8. Get help if fear becomes a way of life.
Fear is part of the human condition and is a primal response to perceived threats. It is natural to survival. Fear responses produce chemical reactions in the body and become ingrained in the psyche, triggered by perceived future events or the threat of them.
It is believed that early childhood experiences could be the root cause of most phobias, so it is unclear when a phobic trigger might occur throughout the progression of life.
Whether fear is heightened by early childhood experiences, religious beliefs or the fear of death, each of us must find a way to accept that the global community is forever changed, and bad people exist who would steal our very existence.
As unthinkable as this is, it is critical to find individual strength and resilience to defeat global bullies from diminishing freedom, peace of mind and the right to pursue happiness.
Until next time, enjoy the ride in good health!