Fear Is Not The Answer

Fear Is Not The Answer

How I think we should be responding to terrorist attacks.
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The world feels like a very unstable, chaotic place right now, especially with another terrorist attack occurring this week in France, sadly being one of many attacks worldwide over the past several months. In the United States, we are in the midst of a very heated presidential election and a civil war against police brutality, hate crime and gun violence. I won’t try and pretend to fully understand the depth of these issues. I am no expert on war or politics.

I am, however, the daughter and friend to many in the military. I am a friend to police officers, to fire fighters, to first responders. I am a friend to those a part of the LGBT community. I am a friend to those of many races, from all parts of the country and the world. I am a friend to those who are Republican and to those who are Democrat.

I refuse to label myself as a conservative or a liberal. I refuse to take sides with the many protests occurring. I refuse for a few reasons. I do not agree with everything conservative and I do not agree with everything liberal, but I do agree with each side at times. I have never experienced severe discrimination or violence against my sexuality or race. I have never experienced police brutality. I have never experienced gun violence. Do I have an opinion on these issues? Yes. My opinion is that what is wrong is wrong and what is right is right. There are good cops and bad cops. There are good soldiers and bad soldiers. There are good Republicans and good Democrats and there are bad Republicans and bad Democrats. There are good people and there are bad people. I used to think that was the answer, but I have learned in my short “adult” years that it is rarely that simple. For all of these reasons, I will not label myself. I will not take sides and I will not say that I understand all of this.

I don’t know the solution to all of these problems. They are so complex and even if I had experienced both sides to all of these situations, I still don’t believe I would truly know. There is just one thing that I am fully confident in: fear is not the answer.

Fear is the driving force behind these issues and historically always has been. Politicians use fear to try to convince people to vote for them by making them afraid of their competition. The media uses fear to keep people tuned into their network, newspaper or social media page. Fear of the unknown and fear of the unfamiliar leads to hate, discrimination, violence and war. I am not naïve enough to believe that if politicians and the media would eliminate fear from their tactics, suddenly there would be no violence and no war. But I do believe that it would be a giant step in the right direction for the United States.

Here is the bottom line: We can’t control everything. We can’t control the world or other people. We really only have control over ourselves. I challenge you, whoever is reading this, to re-evaluate your opinions on these things mentioned above. Ask yourself why you believe what you do. Then ask yourself, is fear a part of that opinion? Are you for or against things because you are afraid of the other side? Are you acting on your fear? If your answers are "yes," then you are a part of the problem.

It is inevitable that bad things are going to happen when you put billions of flawed human beings together on one planet. It is just a fact. I am not asking you to accept these bad things. I am asking you to accept differences and hardships. I am asking you to act on love, act on motivation, act on generosity and act on curiosity, instead of fear. I am asking you to take responsibility for your actions, for your perceptions and for your role in this world. If you feel passionately about something; protest peacefully, educate yourself, educate others and find out what you can actually do to help.

There are battles going on overseas that most of us could never even begin to understand. There are people dying everyday fighting for the rights that we already have in the United States. We have soldiers putting their lives on the line for us overseas to protect our right to freedom, right to peace and right to happiness. Meanwhile, we are killing each other at home.

We need to make it our responsibility to keep the peace. We need to make it our responsibility to protect each other. We need to make it our responsibility to be friends and neighbors to each other, to lend a helping hand and to give an ear to listen and to understand. We need to make it our responsibility to fight and overcome fear.

"People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don't know each other; they don't know each other because they have not communicated with each other." –Martin Luther King Jr.

Cover Image Credit: Tumblr

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

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A Little Skepticism Goes A Long Way

Be informed citizens and verify what you see and hear.

rahma
rahma
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These days more than ever before we are being bombarded constantly by a lot of news and information, a considerable amount of which is inaccurate. Sometimes there's an agenda behind it to mislead people and other times its just rumors or distortion of the facts. So, how do you sift through all this and get accurate information? How can you avoid being misled or brainwashed?

This is an important topic because the decisions each of us make can affect others. And if you are a responsible citizen your decisions can affect large numbers of people, hopefully positively, but negatively as well.

It's been said that common sense is not something that can be taught, but I am going to disagree. I think with the right training, teaching the fundamentals behind common sense can get people to have a better sense of what it is and start practicing it. All you will need is to improve your general knowledge and gain some experience, college is a good place for that, then add a little skepticism and you are on your way to start making sensible decisions.

One of the fundamental things to remember is not to believe a statement at face value, you must first verify. Even if you believe it's from a trusted source, they may have gotten their info from a questionable one. There's a saying that journalists like to use: "if your mother said, 'I love you' you should verify it.'" While this is taking it a bit too far, you get the idea.

If you feel that something is not adding up, or doesn't make sense then you are probably right. This is all the more reason to check something out further. In the past, if someone showed a picture or video of something that was sufficient proof. But nowadays with so many videos and picture editing software, it would have to go through more verification to prove its authenticity. That's not the case with everything but that's something that often needs to be done.

One way of checking if something sounds fishy is to look at all the parties involved and what do they have to gain and lose. This sometimes is easier to use when you're dealing with a politics-related issue, but it can work for other things where more than one person/group is involved. For example, most people and countries as well will not do something that is self-destructive, so if one party is accusing the other of doing something self-destructive or disadvantageous then it's likely that there is something inaccurate about the account. Perhaps the accusing party is setting the other one up or trying to gain some praise they don't deserve.

A lot of times all it takes is a little skepticism and some digging to get to the truth. So please don't be that one which retweets rumors or helps spread misinformation. Verify before you report it.

rahma
rahma

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