We Must Fight Unfounded Fear

Good friends drove me to this. Good, seemingly sensible friends.

Pedestrian politicians drove me to this. Pedestrian, somewhat sensible politicians.

Idiots drove me to this. Complete idiots.

First, though, with what we can all agree on: Any terrorist anywhere using any faith as an excuse to kill deserves more than fiery damnation.

Terror knows no religion or race, though I do pray 72 virgin women find these blasphemous “Islamic” cowards in Jahannam.

Along with all of their Hell’s eternal tortures, these toothless killers ideally would also have to listen to the women brag about how well-educated they are, especially in regards to their reproductive rights, Western culture and feminism.

Even that isn’t enough.

I listened numbly to NPR’s coverage of the Paris attacks that awful night.

Now that the shock has subsided, the world and I are rightfully irate.

It’s 2015.

How does terrorism exist? And an even more unanswerable question: How poorly can some Americans respond?

I understand fear; case and point, this here opinion does not sit well with me. Not one bit. I’ve deleted it twice since starting it. I then restart on my already-late homework. I procrastinate. I go on social media. I see blatant Islamophobia. I restart this opinion.

I’m afraid. I’ve never spoken out about religion and terrorism. A jogging column this is not.

Fear is real, yes, but so is logic, and we can’t let logic be lost amid the terror. For if we do that, we play into the terrorists’ hands.

I ask you, Gov. Jack Dalrymple and others who balk or flat-out deny helping Syrian refugees, how we as a nation can somehow declare refugees will not be accepted into our states.

First, governors, you legally can’t do that. The law abides. Second, let’s look at some soothing statistics to calm our troubled minds:

The Economist reports since 9/11, America has allowed hundreds of thousands of refugees to relocate within its states.

“Of the 745,000 refugees resettled since September 11th, only two Iraqis in Kentucky have been arrested on terrorist charges,” an October article states. Of all the refugees, that’s .000003 percent arrested on terrorist charges, rounding up.

In a viral video on the other end of the spectrum, conservative activist Brigitte Gabriel’s take regarding Islamist radicalism has reared its head again. In the video, which was made shortly after the Charlie Hebdo attacks, Gabriel claims 15 – 25 percent of Muslims are extremists, “according to all intelligence services around the world.”

That’s hundreds of millions of potential terrorists.

As I would tell a struggling client at the Center for Writers, let’s rework this bold, inaccurate claim.

First, the use of “all” is ballsy. No modifiers or qualifiers; every single intelligence service on planet Earth estimates these numbers. OK.

Let’s look past this hyperbolic bologna. Where are we pulling this percentage from? Our anal canal?

Angel Rabasa, a senior political scientist at the RAND nonprofit, told the Christian Science Monitor he pegs the number of “at-risk” Muslim population in Western Europe at less than 1 percent.

And being “at risk of becoming radical,” Rabasa explains, does not correlate violence itself.

While Rabasa is only one reputable source associated with a nonprofit that has worked with the U.S. Armed Forces for decades, Gabriel’s comments are admittedly more shareable on social media.

She’s louder. She’s scarier. She’s, as Aristotle might say, pathetic (in regards to her ultra-pathos).

And she has a right to share her opinions, just as you do. And she has a right to be scared, just as you do. Just don’t let your rights terrorize others.

News literacy is difficult — I get it — but a lack of comprehension leads to misinformation being shared. Part of the reason I’m studying education is to fight this kind of unintended ignorance.

Fear is important. Fear is persuasive.

Fear will not win.

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