Tragedy Strikes Again

When will this type of news ever cease?

This week, my thoughts are with Manchester and those affected by the bombing at the Ariana Grande concert on Monday. When I first heard the news, I was honestly in disbelief. I couldn’t picture a bomb going off in a large concert venue, a concert targeted toward a tween-teen audience. Why would someone go

Obviously the news continues to update the available information as we learn more about the event. That over 20 people have died due to this explosion, including the bomber. The bomb was placed in the arena’s main corridor. ISIS claims responsibility for the terrorist act. And yes, the police fully recognize this as terrorism, not just a random crime.

I think I along with many others have a similar question: Why? Before ISIS made its influence known, I could have seen the motive being something with no reason. A breach of probably lower levels of security in a public place. A grudge against Ariana Grande or even Brexit. But it always seem to come back to a similar cause. But the previous terrorism commited by ISIS has been in public areas, busy with all types of people. This felt like an attack on a very limited audience. It’s young people, people who we tell to not feel paranoid about going outside and enjoying events together. This attack doesn’t just bring about fear; it brings about a terrifying realization that, truly, nobody can feel safe.

I wish I could offer more wisdom, more hope and encouragement as observe the aftermath. I want to stay optimistic, no matter how difficult it seems, no matter how many times it feels like we go through the motions of violence and grief. But this the opportunity to decide what perspective we want to take.

I hope we focus not entirely on the violence, but the support that has risen to take care of those in need. I hope we hear the stories of those young people whose lives were cut too short. I hope we demonstrate humanity’s tenacity and empathy when we demand that connection the most. The more power and attention we give to terrorism, the more motivated these radical groups will be to continue wreaking havoc. It certainly gets their message across when every news outlet in the world is saying their name.

And I’m not saying to avoid the reality of the situation altogether. You can’t sugarcoat it. You can’t undermine the gravity of the loss, all the people affected. So many young people now have a traumatic experience they may never shake from their conscious. The damage inflicted at this moment is only the beginning. Letting this event pass by like a fading trend isn’t an option.

It’s one thing to empathize with Manchester. It’s another thing to actively reach out and help them. I’m not in the position to say what the best course of action to take is, but if we’ve learned anything from this, it’s that violence sees no borders, no ages, no religions, no ethnicities. Humanity’s shortfalls can also bring out our strengths. Whether we keep trying to keep with whatever strategy we’re using now for security and foreign relations or we try a different approach, this is one of many problems society faces. Whenever it feels like it can take a backseat to poverty or climate change or anything else, we are reminded again of the severity and its implications.

For those who may fear being out in public areas, in crowds, at events, I completely understand. Especially young people who often feel they’re invincible to life’s hardships, now who knows what may happen just by going to a pop concert or whatever else? But we have to keep living, keep moving forward. We cannot let fear dictate our existence. We must be smart about making decisions and our vulnerability in certain scenarios, but still go to concerts, activities, whatever else. Enjoy life. If anything, tragedies like this show how fragile we are, how just one moment can change everything.

Just like violence is blind to society’s boundaries, so is love and compassion, the emotions that tie everyone together with a common thread. The cracks created by terrorism and hate also allow the light to seep in and shine more prominently. We look toward the future not knowing what each day may bring, but all we can do is help each other and make the most of every moment we have.

I truly believe that when all is said and done, love will overcome every ounce of hate in the world, that vocal, radical minority trying to define our world and shape it into a dark place. I will always believe that we are innately good. I say that not as a naive testament against a global rise of terrorism, but as an observation from my short time here on this earth, the immense beauty I’ve seen in people. Our show will go on. We will not stop singing.

Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie

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