To all those…

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To all those “Praying for Paris”, please stop.

After every terrorist attack, or mass shooting, after every tragedy, we hold hands, light candles, and send prayers. Then, we wait for it to happen again somewhere else, and repeat the process. This must stop. In the name of those who have suffered tragedy at the hands of terrorists, this must stop.

I feel the pain of the terror attack in Paris. We all do. We recognize that these kinds of actions hurt every one of us, regardless of nationality, culture, or religion. We see a world that we do NOT want to leave for the next generation. How do I know we all feel this way? Because of the outpouring of support and compassion from around the world that we see in the news, and on social media. We know…WE KNOW, that this is not how we want to build our societies. That’s why we hold hands, and mourn TOGETHER the loss of our brothers and sisters, and reappreciate our solidarity and commitment to each other. It is a very powerful trait of human compassion that we can recognize and share deep emotions, and find comfort in doing so.

This compassion, this pain that we are feeling…it MUST be harnessed and converted into ACTUAL change. We can’t just pray, and wait for it to happen again.

This is not about being anti-religious. It is about being pragmatic. It’s about actually reducing violence and death, and unnecessary suffering in the world. It’s about creating a world where terrorism has no utility.

What foreign policies lead to the instabilities that are contributing to rise in terrorist activities?
What are the cultural and social histories of the regions involved?
What can we do, as individual human beings?
How have we contributed to this, and other tragedies?

How about we stare into our morning coffee and mull these, and a thousand other questions five minutes a day? If we care enough to “pray”, then we owe the victims at least this.

There are many things we can all do, very small things in our daily lives, to actually move forward in creating a more peaceful world. Aren’t there? What are they? Are we doing them?

I have no delusions about being able to find the one “right answer.” I even question whether one actually exists. But it is certain that we can move towards a more optimal situation than the one we are in now. It’s also clear we have LOTS of room to move in this direction.

There are so many questions, and so much we don’t know. But, we’ll never know if we don’t start searching. I have faith in our collective brain power to bring about positive change.

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