Why did Paris and San Bernardino affect people so deeply?
Is it their randomness?
Why indeed? After all, 9/11 was far, far worse in terms of loss of life. The attacks themselves during 9/11 were far more high-tech and fiendishly clever, as well. There have been many, many terrorist attacks since, and they have all caused outrage and consternation. But something about the Friday the 13th attacks in Paris and the recent one in San Bernardino seems to have affected people more deeply than any other attacks except 9/11.
9/11 was so spectacular, so creative in a near-diabolical way, that it seemed almost otherworldly or like science fiction. The targets were major national symbols. Paris and San Bernardino were relatively pedestrian, as evil inspiration goes. They were fairly low-tech, and involved the sort of places we go to every day: random cafes and restaurants, a stadium, a concert hall, a business meeting and holiday party. Places to relax and enjoy, the sort of places nearly all urban people go to on a regular basis, or at least on occasion. That’s why it took very little imagination to put ourselves in the place of the unlucky (and mostly young) people who lost their lives there.
John Kerry was his usual flatfooted self when he seemed to offer a distinction between the Charlie Hebdo murders and the Friday the 13th massacres, both of which were terrorist attacks that happened in Paris:
There’s something different about what happened from Charlie Hebdo, and I think everybody would feel that. There was a sort of particularized focus and perhaps even a legitimacy in terms of — not a legitimacy, but a rationale that you could attach yourself to somehow and say, ‘OK, they’re really angry because of this and that,'” Kerry said during remarks at the U.S. Embassy in Paris.
“This Friday was absolutely indiscriminate. It wasn’t to aggrieve one particular sense of wrong. It was to terrorize people. It was to attack everything that we do stand for. That’s not an exaggeration,” Kerry added.
“Legitimacy” sounds like an apology—a rationale, if you will—for attacks that are unforgivable. But, without excusing Kerry in the least, I have to say that he has put his finger, albeit clumsily, on an important distinction that explains why people seem to have been more deeply upset by the recent attacks. It’s not just the ordinariness of the venues—it’s their randomness.
The Charlie Hebdo murders were many things, but “random” was not one of them. The victims were targeted for their behavior, and although it was behavior that Western societies defend as free speech, it still was behavior that was very different from attendance at any one of thousands of restaurants in Paris or going to a workplace. It was something most people could avoid without putting much of a crimp in their lifestyles. Not so with the Friday the 13th victims, or those in San Bernardino.
There are other reasons those later attacks have struck deeply at the heart and soul of Europe and America and the West. Prior to 9/11, if you were to quiz 100 people on the street, perhaps only one or two would have heard of al Qaeda or would know anything significant about it. But by the time of the Friday the 13th attacks and San Bernardino, the vast majority of people in the West had come to know much more about ISIS and exactly how bloodthirsty and savage its members could be. ISIS coming to Europe and America was something greatly feared because of this knowledge.
In addition, not long before these attacks occurred, the West had been rocked by a massive influx of so-called “refugees” from Syria, and the concomitant fears about who they were and why they were on the move from the relative safety of their refugee camps in Turkey and other Muslim countries. Many Europeans and Americans feel helpless in the face of their leaders’ failure to understand their concerns about the possibility of terrorists or terrorist sympathizers being among the new arrivals, or to even acknowledge that there might be something wrong with accepting all these refugees at this point. When some of the terrorists in Paris and in San Bernardino turned out to have taken advantage of the refugee flood and of the US visa program, faith in government’s ability to make the right decisions plummeted further.
In short, they—and we—feel vulnerable, unacknowledged, not listened to, betrayed, and literally disarmed in the face of a hidden enemy that has been revealed to have been as ruthless and bloodthirsty as the villains in a terrible nightmare. Only this nightmare is real.
[Neo-neocon is a writer with degrees in law and family therapy, who blogs at neo-neocon.]
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“In short, they—and we—feel vulnerable, unacknowledged, not listened to, betrayed, and literally disarmed in the face of a hidden enemy that has been revealed to have been as ruthless and bloodthirsty as the villains in a terrible nightmare. Only this nightmare is real.”
Precisely. Up to a point.
Many of us don’t feel any of those things except BETRAYED.
We’ve been shouting all this for years to an Obami who are totally marinated in delusions.
Jeh Johnson is a prime example. His loyalties…and his delusions…belong to his Commie grandpa, who he associates with a phantom McCarthyite Islamophobia.
This isn’t rocket surgery. We have…and had…the tools to detect and stop the San Berdoo killers, and so did the French have the tools to detect and stop the Parisian killers.
We simply start with dealing with reality, and KILLING PC bullshit. Dead.
Why did the events affect us so deeply? Perhaps it’s because we have a reasoned fear that this could happen in our neighborhood or city, or to someone whom we love and care for.
It’s not complicated.
“Why did Paris and San Bernardino affect people so deeply?”
Because they’re watching too much cable TV, Silly.
You beat me to it. LOL.
It affected people so deeply because the attacks were easy to do and it made many feel vulnerable for the first time. Many had a false sense of being safe when the reality is that none of us are safe from things happening. Many move through life distracted by their techno-toys which renders them incapable of seeing what is happening around them. The first rule of self-defense is to be aware of one’s environment. One can’t go through life having a false sense of security nor can one function being totally paranoid about being insecure. There has to be a realistic balance between the 2.
I think another big part of it is conceptualization. No matter how hard I try I can not conceptualize being in a burning falling building, I can imagine and I can empathize, but to actually conceptualize that level of fear and tragedy is simply beyond me, and most people.
However, with the Paris attacks and the Friday the 13 attacks most people can conceptualize sitting at your desk at work and many of us have actually been to Christmas parties that are held in a meeting room. So it is easier for us to put ourselves in that position and see ourselves in that room or at one of the desks.
When we can conceptualize a situation it is easier for us to see ourselves in that situation and that is going to have a more personal impact.
Contrast. The contrast between what we see happening in front of our eyes and what our supposed leaders are telling us its supposed to be like.
Seeing death, carnage, and bloodshed at our very doorstep while at the same time hearing “Alice In Wonderland” phrases and expressions out our ‘Moral and Intellectual Superiors’ mouths, seeing the bodies lying in pools of blood on the floor of the Bataclan Concert Hall while listening to Barack, John Francoise, and Hillary tell us we have to empathize with our enemies. ISIS is contained.
Jonathan Gruber might be surprised at quickly America is waking out of its Barack Obama reverie.
Because all the liberals were able to pretend that everything was sugar and rainbows with the Uniter as president.
Now they’re confronted with the harsh reality that terrorists have not been defeated by the Golfer in Chief’s pathetic little drone strikes, but they have rebuilt and gained strength back to their level 10 years ago.
Reality is a bitch.
Americans ARE the Dept. of Homeland Security. The government is not.
Government exists precisely to protect us from foreign threats. Government and the DHS and their lack of immigration control have failed us.
As we have learned, government is not making us safer at home. When LEOs are hamstringed by the powers that be so as to impart priviledge to certain groups, it gives one pause.
Hillary cannot make you safe. You can make yourself safe.
I still hold a grudge against GW Bush for his response to 9-11. He could have revised the Civil Defense system whereby citizens and localities would prepare and practice for their own defense, but instead he chose to create a pitiful, helpless, giant of a big-government leviathan with the Nazi-sounding name: “Homeland Security”.
revised = revived
For myself, it is the fact that our leaders are so disconnected from reality. You cannot deal with a problem unless you diagnose it correctly. All the necessary evidence is there, but our ‘leaders’ choose to pretend otherwise.
And the problem isn’t just ‘Islamic extremists’ although thy represent the most immediate concern. The problem is Islam itself. I’ve put together some pages on Islam ( http://www.unshackledaction.com/#!islam/c1cqx ) for my church group’s website. 51% of American Muslims would like the option of living under Sharia Law. Check out what that involves ( http://www.unshackledaction.com/#!sharia/c5bw ) and ask yourself if it is in any way, shape or form compatible with what America stands for.
One factor that is not being discussed is that, since 9/11, many more people across a much wider geographic area have become directly or indirectly affected by subsequent terror attacks. Every attack sends out a wave of distress across inter-related families, neighborhoods, communities, workplaces, professions, and human networks of all kinds. In 2001, only a tiny fraction of people personally knew someone who had suffered directly or indirectly from terrorism. As the number of terrorist attacks has grown, many more networks of people have been affected, and the distress widens.
Most here felt betrayed long ago and Paris and SanB were only two more confirmations, that happened to break media silence. Other folks woke up to reality, that Obama’s words of comfort are empty, or malicious. He actually short circuited investigations that discovered Islam really has a LOT to do with the terrorism.
Krauthammer pointed out what seems clear in light of the Obama we know. When Obama said he didn’t know how deeply people were affected, because he didn’t watch enough news”, he probably meant the only reason people ARE affected is because news played it up. Control of the news is control of reality to Obama. His administration even praised Chavez for how he used their media for his agenda.
Thug and robber Brown gets killed after wrestling for a cops gun, and Obama’s troops turn it into “hands up don’t shoot”, and Team Obama “makes room” for national riots, and threatens cops nationwide, imposing disparate impact insanity.
But fourteen slaughtered by a jihadist is not something to worry about, and America deserves it anyway apparently. After the massacre we Americans were chastised for the bigotry they were sure we felt, and the terrible things they perceived we were getting ready to say. Lynch threatened prosecution for reactionary hate speech.
Radical Islam was excused, free speech was threatened. It was in lockstep with the fabricated Benghazi narrative, that some American You-Tube video had caused some guys out for a walk to riot, and Hillary gave them room to riot, even though a response was “spinning up” only waiting for the “GO” that never came. Men left behind to die, for a political narrative.
The white privilege crap, the “KKK gene” insults, the white colonialism accusations … we are sick of being made second class citizens on probation.
Europe bears the blunt of the threat for now, and they reacted with martial law, home invasions, and shutting down mosques. Obama’s team reacted by scolding Americans for being bigots and haters, and for buying guns for protection. We’re not afraid, we’re just getting motivated.
Why the deep impact? Because the left does not care about anything except power. They do not care about anyone except themselves. Look at Hillary & Obama & Benghazi. They knew Americans would die and they only cared about themselves and their political power. They lied to the families and the world. When dealing with psychopaths, the problem is not intellectual–it is moral. They make cold political calculations. The lives of others are mere statistics and something to be exploited. Just watch what they do and see the cold calculations and fake concern for the lives of others. Hillary as a trail of dead bodies and destroyed women. Obama cares about only one person. He could have stopped the SB attack but did not. He wants more ISIS in the USA. That should be very obvious.
It’s not just the random targets — it’s the bargain-basement discount terror that’s the issue.
9/11 took a decade of work, flight training, beating airport security, and cleverly exploiting our standard airplane hijacking policies. It took planning, expertise, long-term commitment to die for the cause, and large amounts of foreign funding.
The couple in San Bernardino would have been just as effective with nothing but the handguns they’d legally purchased. (The pipe bombs were duds and the illegally modified rifles weren’t important.) They killed more than a dozen people with no real expertise and no real budget. And if they’d gone to a mall or a school, they would likely have killed many times that.
9/11 was a one-off. It was already an inoperative strategy by the time the fourth plane went down. San Bernardino is retail, army-of-davids, internet-spreadable, think-global-act-local terror.
That’s much scarier.
Three things: The knowledge that someone in the world specifically wants us dead. The fact that they have the ability to make good on the threat, and the apparent unconcern of the Administration, who seem more interested in preventing discrimination than in protecting citizens.
There is no escaping the conclusion that Obama is our enemy.
A majority of the electoral college put him in power and re-elected him.
It is Tyrant Obama Bin Liar’s response to Muslims butchering Americans and French. He insists on bring thousands of Muslim butchers into the USA despite the fact that it is impossible to vet them. He also is demanding that Americans be disarmed an unable3 to defend themselves from his Muslim terrorist buddies.
Not to diminish the horror of Paris and San Bernardino, but folks, this is what large portions of the planet have to deal with on a regular basis; ever hear of Mumbai, India? It is not a coincidence that these incidents happen in areas with large if not dominant Muslim majorities. While he and his will remain safe behind high walls and armed guards, Obama welcomes you to the World.
Most of us have lived in a small pocket of geography and history where humans have not savagely hacked each other to bits.
The reality is, that is not the norm of human history. According to the rest of the world, it’s not the future of history either.
We are also the first generation of western civilization that has not sent millions of soldiers and civilians to their early graves in violent conflict.
The more history I read, the more of a “prepper” mind sight I find myself having. TV and history both love re-runs. History never smiles on the innocent and ill- prepared, but loves “300” as much as any red blooded American man.
My advice is to make yourself prickly and hard to eradicate.
I keep seeing the word “fear” in respect to ISIS (Daesh rats). That is not what I feel. I am angry at our betrayal by, and the cowardice of our government, at most all levels.
We, as a people, need to start organizing groups to welcome ISIS appropriately. Like they were welcomed in Garland,TX. No need for police or politicians, though we shouldn’t exclude them from the party if they want to play, too. Then, we need to remove those politicians and administrators who oppose or try to limit our deployment, by various means such as defeating them at elections, or Natural Law Term Limits. Heads on pikes can be very persuasive to such cowards.