Thursday, November 19, 2015

My first year of college, on a bright and sunny Tuesday morning, I recall pressing snooze a few times before I absolutely had to get up and get ready for my 10 a.m. class. I will never forget that morning. Shortly after the second snooze, my roommate, Melissa, came back from the shower and woke me up, telling me we needed to turn on the television. On September 11, 2001, my perception of the world was forever changed.

Bad things have happened since the beginning of man, but for the first time in my life, I saw true terrorism unfold before me live on television. Since that horrific day in 2001, we have seen threats with anthrax, shoe bombs, the Beltway snipers, bombings, gunmen, school massacres and suicide missions. A quick internet search brings back dozens of potential terrorist threats or real acts of terrorism on our country or our allies.

With these events so prevalent in our media, it is something that is always in the back of my mind. When I go to concerts, sporting events, the movie theater or even the Royals Victory parade with 800,000 in attendance, I can’t help but wonder if my safety is in question. Will this be the time and place that something awful develops, and will I be labeled a victim or a hero?

Last Friday, I watched as the news unfolded from Paris. I became more and more stoic as the death toll numbers continued to rise. I fought back tears as I learned that innocent people were being slaughtered, one by one, by evil. I saw the looks on the people’s faces as they were escorted to safety, some covered in other people’s blood, while others lay lifeless in the street.

It was a horrible scene, yet it was one that I have become all too familiar with. Of course, working in the news industry, I try and numb myself when it comes to feeling the weight of bad news. But it still affects me. Every day, it affects me. It impacts where I go, whom I take with me and how I observe the people around me.

How can we protect ourselves from the horror that wicked brings when the evildoers are so willing to sacrifice themselves in the name of terror? How do we go about our lives fearlessly? I’m not sure I have the answers. I can only do what I know how to do, which is to try and be kind to everyone I meet and spread love instead of hate. Though the list of terrorism-related events is ever-growing, I still hold tight to the belief that majority of people are good, compassionate and caring. I hope I’m right about that. 

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