I didn’t want to talk about this, but as you are all undoubtedly aware, another major terrorist attack rocked the world this Friday past. At last count I saw about 130 dead. Multiple people wounded. ISIS, last I saw, had claimed responsibility. To be honest, other than headlines I haven’t paid much attention to the story. My heart can only be broken so many times before it will lack the ability to properly heal. I can’t handle the perpetual onslaught of horrible news any longer.
I didn’t want to talk about this, but in the aftermath of this heinous attack I have seen opinions of every sort on the matter ranging from sad to anger to outright xenophobic. I have seen people offer prayers for those lost and affected by the attacks. I have seen sympathy. Mostly what I have seen has been hatred. Hatred for Muslims. Hatred for Islam. Gross generalizations about any person of Arabic decent being a terrorist, despite the fact that the race suffering the most from ISIS and its ilk are, yup, Muslims.
I didn’t want to talk about this, but when I was 12 years old I befriended a Muslim boy, and we were inseparable for the two years I lived down the road from him. I became close with his family, too, and they treated me as one of their own. I spent many nights in their home. They welcomed me with open arms. My friend’s father owned two restaurants in Jerusalem. He had two older sisters who behaved like typical teenage girls.
I didn’t want to talk about this, but my friend was not a terrorist. I know, I was shocked, too. He took karate, loved to play basketball (even though he sucked at it), and thought he looked like Vanilla Ice (he didn’t). We kicked the soccer ball around in his back yard. We played Super Mario Bros. 3 in his bedroom. We watched movies in the basement. We talked about girls. We talked about music. We talked about our families. Never once was the word infidel uttered. Never once did he or his family question my Catholic upbringing. They openly answered any questions I had regarding their faith. I believe them to be typical of most Muslims.
I didn’t want to talk about this, but I’ve seen many folks clamoring for this country to close up it’s borders. This great nation, founded on immigration – this great nation, whose diversity is its strength – this great nation, the land of opportunity – this great nation…should shut everybody out? Do we (the conservative collective (of which I am not a part) who want to barricade our borders) truly believe that if we halt all immigration that terrorist won’t find their way in? Isn’t this the same logic you guys use as a standard retort to anyone who suggests a gun ban?
I didn’t want to talk about this, but I’ve seen many people using this tragedy as a platform to defend gun rights. I’ve seen a blabbering dolt with a horrible toupee claim that if Paris wasn’t a gun-free zone this would never have happened. I’ve seen internet memes claiming the same. I’ve been disgusted by folks using the deaths of 130 innocent people to advance their own agenda. More guns. More bullets. More, more, more.
I didn’t want to talk about this, but I seen roughly half of our nation’s governors refuse to accept any Syrian refugees. Many of them are writing the White House to demand the federal government reject every single soul fleeing their war-torn country. They are, understandably, afraid, which is the very goal of terrorism. Reports have emerged that one of the terrorists in the Paris attack had gained access to the country by claiming to be a Syrian refugee. Therefore they view every Syrian refugee as a potential terrorist. You know what we’re doing by refusing refugees? Making ISIS stronger. If we alienate every Muslim because he/she might be a potential terrorist, the terrorists win. When ISIS recruits these refugees because, hey, they have nowhere else to go, the terrorists win.
I didn’t want to talk about this, but if you want to protect American citizens, perhaps you should start looking within our borders rather than without. A very real threat to American lives is already inside our nation, and it isn’t any Muslim. It isn’t any Islamic terrorist. It isn’t even, as the “Astray Toupee” would have you believe, the Mexicans. It’s us. It’s American citizens. It’s American citizens with guns. It’s American citizens who can obtain guns with little to no problem. It’s the lack of gun control. It’s the loose regulation of gun sales. We are our own worst enemy.
I didn’t want to talk about this, but there’s nothing wrong with changing my Facebook profile picture to one with the flag of France overlay. Contrarily, there’s nothing wrong with not changing your profile to the French flag. People like me changed our pictures to let the people of France know they are in our thoughts. It doesn’t mean that we are only grieving for the lost French lives and none other. It doesn’t mean we are not aware of countless other atrocities (such as Beirut or Kenya) happening on a daily basis. It just means we’re acknowledging this one; mainly because it’s the only option Facebook gave us. No matter which side of this fence you’re on, calm the fuck down. We all deal with these things in our own way. And that’s okay.
I didn’t want to talk about this either, but if your holidays are ruined because your holiday coffee cup is plain red you seriously need to reevaluate your priorities and your beliefs. Seriously, it’s a fucking cup. A cup you’ll throw in the garbage when you’ve consumed every last drop of that Arabian goodness.
I didn’t want to talk about any of these things, but I can’t escape them. The headlines are assaulting me like a summer storm. Everyone is whipping their “righteous” opinions around and I’m over here wishing for an umbrella to shield me from the downpour of bullshit that has been raining on the internet lately.
So…there, I’ve responded to it all.
I feel better.
I’m going to go get a Pumpkin Spiced Latte in a satanic cup from Starbucks now.