We’re at a place in history where terrorist attacks, both domestic and otherwise, are a part of everyday life. There aren’t attacks on innocent civilians every day, but they happen with such regularity that they no longer come as a surprise. Instead, we say something to the effect of “not again”, bury ourselves in the news stories, and lament about the state of the world.
The attack that took place this week in New York City is, unfortunately, just another tally on the long list of terrible events in recent years. With a seemingly endless barrage of breaking news sounders and bolded headlines informing us of another tragedy, keeping a positive outlook on life can be incredibly difficult. If we spend enough time contemplating what drives these people to take the lives of others and to strike fear in the hearts of millions, we’ll see nothing but bad in the world. The truth of it is, there is a lot of bad in the world, but there is also a lot of good in the world. In fact, I’d posit that there’s more good than bad. Let me explain:
TRAGEDY BRINGS OUT THE BEST IN PEOPLE
Most of the news that came out of this week’s attack was about the casualty numbers, the attacker, the radicalized religious practices of the attacker, and the ensuing immigration debate. We didn’t hear about the people who ran to the aid of the injured. We didn’t hear about the vigils held for the victims and the memorials staged in their memory. In the wake of events like these, we’re inundated with the negative stories and not the countless positive ones.
People, myself included, often can’t separate the grim reality of the world from our daily lives after attacks like these, but if we keep in mind the solidarity, the kindness, and dare I say the beauty that comes in the aftermath of these attacks, we may hold a brighter view of the world we live in.
Think about the response after the Las Vegas shooting in October. Thousands of people lined the streets of Las Vegas to donate blood; thousands of people. When we compare that to the number of attackers (one) we see it spelled out in front of us. All it takes is one person to destroy dozens, hundreds, even thousands of lives, but that one person is vastly outnumbered by the people willing and able to do good in the wake of tragedy.
DON’T LET THE FEAR GRIP YOU
It’s natural to be overcome with fear after something terrible happens. I love riding my bike around New York City and have ridden on that bike path countless times. It’s not crazy for me to think that I could have been caught up in that attack. The odds are slim, sure, but they were just as slim for the people who were found themselves in harm’s way.
Things like this won’t happen to most of us, but they can happen to any of us. It’s hard to reconcile that but it’s important that we don’t let it stop us from living our lives. We need to keep moving forward and live the lives that make us happiest. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be diligent and try to minimize the risk of danger whenever possible, but it does mean not letting something like this – the actions of one rogue person – deter us from doing what we love.
Life is full of pain and suffering, but what makes it worthwhile is the joy and fulfillment we can get out of it. We cannot let the pain and suffering felt from these attacks strip us of the joy that makes life so wonderful.
Until next time – Just keep swimming.