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Saturday 25 March 2017

What Comes After

It may just be me, but - now, whenever a serious incident happens and people get hurt, how I respond to it mentally has changed.

(You'll note I haven't used the term "terrorism", there. A lot of things get labelled as terrorism that may not be, and a lot of things that are, don't.)

The incident itself provokes several emotions. Horror. Anxiety. Incredulity. That's the immediate response - a mixture of worry for the people hurt and killed, shock that it happened, and outright flabbergasted anger that someone deigned it a good use of their time.

What follows after that is a kind of hollow-stomach dread at what people are going to do next.

You know the people I'm talking about. Everyone does. Some of them exist in the world of news and politics. Others are family, work colleagues and friends. Some of them are genuinely well-meaning people. Others are, well, not.

It's obviously an emotive thing - when lives are injured and cut short in such a shocking and visible way - and critical thinking gets frayed and thrown out the window. Understandably, yes, but we have to recognise it happens, because a lot of people who talk sense afterwards tend to get ignored for a lot of people who really don't.

We get people like Trump Jr, who decides to have a pop at the Mayor of London, because...well, we're not really sure, but immigration and grr and things. We get people like Katie Hopkins, who believes that murder isn't an extreme behaviour, just "more devout", thus demonstrating a lamentable grasp of any kind of reality. We get people like the right-wing rando who went on Twitter chatting shit about how Theresa May had let in several quadrillion immigrants in her time as Home Secretary, and laid the blame at their door for the actions of a man born, raised and living in England. We get the EDL, showing us carefully selected pictures to try and make us hate, hoping we don't think about them for several seconds at once.

And we believe in free speech, so they can say what they want. The real problem is that people are too busy being angry to actually fact-check them.

It's easy to be afraid and angry. Very easy. We've all been there.

But we owe it to ourselves to not.

I mean for god's sake, we're adults. Aren't we? Capable of critical thinking? Capable of spotting potential lies? We have object permanence, don't we? We have knowledge of the basic concept of someone having an agenda, and knowing that what they say will probably fit in with that agenda?

...I'd really hope so.

Meanwhile. Hundreds of extremists will shout about the actions of one extremist. They'll tell us they are on our side, and so that will be fine. More barriers, more anger, more breakdowns in society.

People died, innocent people, and that is a tragedy - but now their deaths are going to get foisted around like political capital, used to promote anger and hatred, and that is a disrespect above and beyond.

I've done a blog previously about this kind of thing. It's here, if you are interested. It's specifically about the solutions to terrorism.

All I hope now is that once the terrorists have done their work, and the other terrorists start talking, that less and less people listen.

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