Terrorized by Terrorism: How Can We Feel Safe?

Suicide bombers. Stabbings. Gunshots.

Violence. Hate. Bloodshed. Heartache.

This is our world, and I am paralyzed and terrorized with fear.

There is death nearly every day now. It is all around us. My children are growing up in a world where violence permeates our schools, where watching the news is a terrifying and heart-wrenching experience, where airplanes and airports become battlefields, where crowded public places can erupt with bloodshed, where communities live in fear, where entire religions are targeted, where everyone is affected -- even those living across the world. Especially those living across the world.

This violence seeps through barriers, law enforcement, and safety measures. Nothing seems to be safe.

Today, I worry.

I worry when my husband attends a crowded college football game. I worry when I attend any type of religious event. I worry when I'm in a crowded a flea market, when I think about traveling with my family, when I hear a siren screaming in the distance. I worry for the innocence lost, the lives cut short, the souls that leave too early. I worry for my family, and I worry for your family.

As I sift through articles about a recent and violent hate crime in Israel, I study pictures of Ezra Schwartz's warm and familiar boyish face. He looks so familiar. Not because I know him, but because I could know him. He could be any of us -- he was American, he was a child, he was a brother, he was a friend, he was a student, he was Jewish, he was a camp counselor...he was human -- and he belongs to all of us. This murder happened far away in Israel, yet we cannot look away, we are not removed from this act by distance. One of our own was abruptly and inhumanely taken. He looks so familiar -- he could be any of us.

With thoughts of Ezra burned into my mind, I don't know how to instill a sense of safety into my children. I am paralyzed and terrorized with fear, but I don't want them to be. I want my children to play outside and explore. I want them to attend school field trips, religious celebrations, sporting events, and birthday parties with that carefree ease that only children have. I want them to satisfy their curiosities and enrich their souls with travel. I want them to live.

As we approach the holiday season, our President tells fellow Americans not to panic. He urges us to continue with our celebrations, travels, traditions, and festivities. For most of us we will take a leap, hold our breath, and hope for safety. What else can we do?

But what about our friends across the world? What about Ezra's parents sitting in their own inexplicable grief? What about the countless families in Israel that have lost loved ones simply for being Jewish -- simply for living in the country they love? What about our friends in Paris trembling with a fear they never even knew existed? I can only imagine that they too, are paralyzed and terrorized with fear.

So many people agree with the saying "if you let the terrorists control your life, then they win." I do believe that we must carry on and live our lives -- what other choice do we have? However, I also worry that with so many injured and dead (with even one life lost), the terrorists have already won.

As we spill dirt onto the graves of so many lost lives, I wonder what we can be doing to put an end to the violence. The question is simple, but the answer is complicated.

Today my heart is with a young American boy's mother, and I worry. I cannot place myself in her shoes -- it's simply too horrific to imagine.

Suicide bombers. Stabbings. Gunshots.

Violence. Hate. Bloodshed. Heartache.


This is our world, and I am paralyzed and terrorized with fear.

How can we feel safe?