Thursday, December 3, 2015

Is Terrorism the New Norm?

Terrorism is getting boring.

That’s a horrible thing to say after the terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California, yesterday. But that’s how I feel nonetheless. And I don’t think I’m alone.

If I was personally caught up in a terrorist attack, or if I knew someone wounded or killed in one, obviously, I would feel differently. Yet hearing about it happening to others, even Americans, doesn’t really phase me anymore.

It’s getting commonplace. Just like hearing how Baltimore’s murder rate keeps climbing every week doesn’t make me bat an eye anymore.

People are suffering, dying and devastated… but because I’ve somehow accepted that this is just the way things are, I feel next to nothing.

When I read about yesterday’s mass shooting, my first thought was a question: “Is it terrorism?” But there was no horror in the question. Only weariness, and barely even that.

When I saw the headlines guessing that it was terrorism, my first thought was “Go figure.” I think I might have grimaced.

And when all the articles started coming out that it was, in fact, terrorism – that the two suspects killed were 28-year-old Syed Rizwan Farook, a devout Muslim who recently took a trip to Saudi Arabia, and 27-year-old Tashfeen Malik, his wife of two years – I went back to my previous activities in an appallingly short amount of time.

Maybe two minutes. Maybe.

Whatever happened to the horror we felt during 9/11? Or the national outrage in 2004 when that American journalist – whose name I’ve apparently lost in the long list of terrorism victims – was beheaded on video? I felt sick to my stomach for days after that, and I didn’t even see the footage!

But that was a lifetime ago. These days, we hear about terrorists beheading people all the time, sometimes even in America, like at that Oklahoma food distribution center last year. American Military institutions get shot up by terrorists often enough, and everyone now kind-of expects our marathons to be bombed.

So 14 people dying and 17 more getting injured in a terrorist attack here at home barely feels newsworthy.

It’s a really bad commentary for our national security – and a bad sign for our national mindset –when American citizens can sigh and shrug and then go on about their lives like terrorism is the new norm.

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