Don't cower in the face of terrorism

By Mitchell Blatt
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, November 28, 2015
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"The State Department alerts U.S. citizens to possible risks of travel due to increased terrorist threats," the U.S. government warned its citizens on November 23. "U.S. citizens should exercise vigilance," the travel advisory continued.

Excuse me, but as an international traveler myself, that's what I've already been doing. That warning just reiterates common sense. And because it was a "worldwide travel alert," it applies too broadly to be meaningful to any specific country. Are Americans just going to stop traveling period? They could get attacked at home, too, though.

While it is fine to be vigilant, people shouldn't live in fear. Terrorism is meant to make people live in fear. Consider now how many people are scared of the next attack rather than focusing on what is happening now. "ISIS Attacks in America Are Coming," Max Book wrote in Commentary magazine.

But as Ringu Tulku's book "Mind Training" says, "What frightens us most is the thought of being afraid. That is the greatest fear. Nothing puts us in more danger than our own mind…"

If we are scared of traveling, then we will be denying ourselves the pleasure of traveling. That was ultimately the goal of ISIS's killing. The attack on Charlie Hebdo was specifically targeted against a magazine that satirized the prophet Muhammad. Their intent was to intimidate people into not depicting him. Various terrorist groups have been relatively successful on that front: Since the Danish cartoon riots, few have published the cartoons. Now Charlie Hebdo has - understandably - decided to cease the depiction of Muhammad.

The attack on Paris targeted people who were drinking and relaxing at cafes and watching sports and music performances. The French lifestyle and the lifestyles of the civilized world in general are antithetical to the repression and fundamentalism ISIS applies in the lands it controls.

Men and women are segregated in ISIS land. Schools are not allowed to teach music, arts, or sports. Fashion choices are criminalized. Women are forced to wear burqas, and men are banned from wearing skinny jeans. In short, almost everywhere one goes in a free country, people are breaking the law of ISIS's man-made god.

On Fox News last week, a retired police officer and self-style terrorism pundit, Bo Dietl, advised viewers against taking seats outside or near windows at restaurants in major cities. If everyone followed his advice, then restaurants would be empty. "Avoid large crowds or crowded places," the U.S. State Department advised.

If you forsake fine dining, live concerts, and all sorts of fun events, then what are you living for? Mocking Muhammad may be a relatively small thing in life that most people can do without, but terrorists are trying to wage war on every facet of life. The chances of actually dying in a terrorist attack are still very low.

However, if you must risk dying, then what better way to go than drinking wine on the streets of Paris? The French used a nice motto during their revolution: Vivre Libre ou Mourir.

Americans used the phrase, too, in relation to their revolutionary war. General John Stark, asked to give a toast for the anniversary of a famous battle, sent his toast by letter: "Live free or die: Death is not the worst of evils."

I'll drink to that.

The author is a columnist with For more information please visit:

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