This has been a rough week for our country.  It’s been a rough month for France and Europe and it’s been a rough three years for the Middle East and freedom loving countries everywhere.  Terrorist have taken over the news media, day to day conversations and has been a major  topic on the  long running presidential debate circuit; at least on the Republican circuits where softball questions aren’t served up.  A problem with all this discussion, all this media coverage and so much misinformation is that it leads to perceptions that are taken as fact and thus leads to paranoiac behavior.

During the American Revolution the population was under threat of retribution from Mother England.  For the typical man and woman this threat was much more a threat than we face today in America and for that matter in Europe also.  During that important time in the formation of our great nation, people living in America refused to be intimidated.  They went on with their lives, planted crops, worked in mills, hunted, raised children and worshipped as they wished.

This optimism in life has continued throughout the growth of our nation.  We have had some pretty dark times and instead of ducking and cowering amid a wringing of hands, America stood tall and took on the challenge and won.  There was one think common, the majority of our challenges was in someone else’s back yard.  The Spanish American war was fought in Cuba with a major naval engagement in Manila Bay.  World War I was in Europe and World War II expanded to include the Pacific Theater.  Korea and Viet Nam was limited to those countries and Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom were limited to a small part of the Middle-East.  America was invaded in 1917 by Mexico’s Poncho Villa at Columbus, New Mexico.   Even this “invasion” did not stir fear from the populace.  Then fourteen years ago much changed.  Terrorist from the Middle East attacked the United States using passenger jets as lethal missiles and did so on American soil.  American resolve remained intact as the country took measures to counter fear, to include invading both Afghanistan and Iraq.

After fourteen years of war and watching terrorist attacks live in real time and listening to hours upon hours of commentary about how pitiful the situation is, America is becoming war weary and a perception of vulnerability is creeping in.  I have heard people say they won’t travel outside the country for fear of something happening.  Or someone hears an Indian speaking in his native language to a family member and this could be trouble.  Both situations are examples of perceptions being taken as fact which will ultimately lead to gains being made by ISIS without firing a shot.

In 2014 the Cancun airport handled 17.5 million visitors.  This is well over 4,500 flights a year landing there so the question is, “What is the probability of being on a flight to Cancun that is terror attacked after it has gone through numerous screenings before taking off?”. As for the Indian speaker, it is common knowledge that India’s religion is predominately Hindi and their biggest rivalry are the Muslims.  This concern is unfounded but punctuates a growing fear within our own country.

It is imperative that we as a citizenry remain vigilant.  During World War II posters were placed around the country warning America of possible German saboteurs.  While America was vigilant, paranoia seldom took place.  Today, we must temper our observations and let logic enter into what we are seeing.  We must stay informed but we don’t need to let the media drive how we think or respond.  Remember, networks live by ratings and rating can be driven by sensationalism.  Shock and awe draw viewers and viewers raise the ratings.  Americans must make their own informed decisions.

Every time that we change the way we live our lives, the terrorist win.  Every time we move outside our comfort zone, the terrorist win.  Every time we let panic or paranoia enter into our normal lives, the terrorist win.  Every time we change how we live, how we love, how we worship, the terrorist win.  So here is what I am going to do.  In a couple of weeks I am booking my trip to Cancun and Bonnie and the Davidson’s will be right there with me and we are going to have a great time visiting Mayan ruins, swimming in the Caribbean, grossly overeating, loving and laughing and having a great time .  And when I arrive in Mexico I will speak English and when I hear another language spoken in America I will not think that some sort of conspiracy is taking place.

Enjoy life everyone and wishing everyone a great Christmas Season, without fear of celebrating it and without fear of any terrorist attacks.

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