I can't get Manchester out of my thoughts today, as I think of all of the young children whose lives were forever changed. Of course our hearts go out to those who died and the families that they left behind, and those who are injured and the families that are anxiously awaiting their recovery. Today, however, I am thinking about the rest of the concert hall, filled with young people who will never feel entirely safe again. Every time they go to the movies, walk through a mall or do any of the things that teenagers love to do, a part of them will be watching everyone who walks by and judging the danger that might be lurking.
Even as adults, they will cringe at the thought of sending their own children to concerts or amusement parks. No amount of counseling will combat those terrifying moments of watching the laughter turn to horror in front of their eyes. This life altering fear is exactly what these extremists want. The death count is secondary to the terror that they instill on those of us around the world.
When we try to point the finger at any one religion or nationality, we are taking our eyes away from the bigger picture. Muslims did not do this, any more than "right to lifers" killed Dr. George Tiller, the medical director of Women's Health Care Services who was fatally shot because he performed abortions. Extremists committed these heinous acts, and there are extremists in every religion, in every country, and working for every cause. Their hatred blinds them to any truth, and they will gladly die for causes that take over their lives.
For the most part they have been brainwashed by leaders who are vengefully amoral, and recruit others to die so these leaders can gain power and money. Whether they are Americans who recruit for domestic terror, or foreigners who gather followers to commit unforgivable acts, they all have one thing in common. They do not represent the good people who are trying to make changes peacefully. It is in these extremists' best interest to make us see each other as the enemy, and not just people with opposing ideas. The more that they fill us with hatred and fear, the more we will do their work for them.
The first step in combating these extremists, is refusing to buy into their hatred of those who think differently. Once we all recognize that we are being set up to be instrumental in our own destruction, we can work together to eliminate those few who might truly do us harm. If we open our hearts and minds to things that might be different without being evil, we can build bridges as we tear down walls and make our world safe for our children once again.
I decided to read/review a children's book this week, and came upon The Barely Visible Bear written by Ted Pollock. The story, which features a bear who acts as a guardian angel, and the young girl who is the only one who sees him...barely...is a heartwarming tale that introduces us to a close family that works together to solve their problems.
My second choice this week, Dead Certain by Adam Mitzner, is certain to take your mind off of world problems for a bit. Written from several viewpoints, this is a story of a young author who disappears, and the sister who is determined to find her.
As always, complete reviews of these two books follow this blog.