Terror word image

Terror is not new. Terror has always existed. From the beginning of time, one group has sought dominance over another group. War is waged and innocent people on both sides are terrorized.

Terror in our time is no different. Humans still have a penchant for violence or a craving for dominance. One group attacks, whether by bombings or beheadings. The other group reacts, justifying their deeds by fear, hatred, or revenge. The cycle continues until one group achieves dominance by eliminating the other group’s threat.

It has always been this way. In our time, we characterize groups according to our reaction to them, and their acts of terror are globally disseminated in an instant through the Internet and news outlets.

Terror Plays No Favorites

In the latest terrorist outrage in London, cowardly and delusional people plowed down innocents using a truck, and then they went in search of victims to stab with household knives. They didn’t ask who was a Christian, Muslim, Shia, Sunni, Hindu or atheist. It made no difference. When they mowed down the pedestrians on the bridge, they did not care what age or gender they were, what race they were, or what ideology they held. Indiscriminate violence was their goal — to create terror and disrupt a peaceful society.

How gleeful these conscience-seared individuals must be to see their goal achieved. Although London police killed the terrorists, admirers and emulators are emboldened to receive similar “moments of fame.” The news outlets compete to be the first to name the individuals or organization responsible for the havoc. So-and-so’s name is immortalized. Such-and-such terror organization is glorified as a viable threat. I want this to change.

Terrorists Talk Too Much

Terrorists need to be silenced, or at least muted, so few hear their hate speech and recruitment rhetoric. I remember in Cecil B. DeMille’s movie, The Ten Commandments (1956), when Ramses, played by Yul Brynner, commanded Moses’ name stricken from every monument and every scroll so that it would be as if he had never lived. This was the apex of punishment. I want that today. Not from personal pique as with Ramses, but by social contract. I want every news outlet to obliterate the name and face of every terrorist and every terrorist organization from their broadcasts or blogs. If a point of reference is needed for a story they can name the terrorists, Coward I and Coward II, or the terrorist organization, “The Loser Org.”

The attraction of instant fame for people who crave validation and the global reach of those who seek them is made too easy by access to global communication. Sociopaths and ruthless ideologues should not be able to disseminate their message of hate and vengeance to impressionable, disillusioned, or suicidal people. We must agree as a society to eliminate global access to those who promote acts of violence against the innocent.