Terror is mindless. It is literally mindless. These people have lost their minds. Many of those young adults and teenagers have simply given up their minds to the hands of mindless psychopaths. I often wonder – as we all do – how does this happen? How bad off do you have to be to think that joining a terrorist group that will most certainly leave you not only a murderer, but also dead, will be a good decision? Did these people have terrible parents? From the scarce interviews I’ve seen with the family members of these suicide bombers and other murderers, their parents were normal, loving parents just doing their best as all parents are. None of them were negligent, abusive or even living in poverty. In fact, many were middle-class families just like most of us.
So is this the new teenage rebellion?
As I read my CNN app and listen to the radio on my daily commute to grad school for psychology, I wonder what we can do about all of these kids thinking that paradise awaits those who commit suicide and kill others. Where have we all gone wrong? Who’s to blame? Unfortunately I have no answers; just guesses like everyone else. But I do know we cannot just throw the blame on those young people blowing themselves up and move on. We have to realize that everything in this world is connected. And we need to reflect on what’s to blame, but not in a black-and-white way. It’s time to think in shades of gray.
Are video games to blame? Are these kids playing too many violent games? Are they out of touch with the real world? We’ve all heard this theory. Yet, my 16-yr old nephew plays video games seemingly all the time, and I am pretty sure he’s not going to go blow up something in real life. In fact, he’s a wonderfully sweet young man who wouldn’t hurt a fly. So, the video game theory leaves me with doubts.
Is the rise of the Internet Age to blame? Is the Information Age to blame? Do we all simply have too much information? I’m dating myself here, but when I did my first master’s thesis in Business many moons ago, the Internet was something that people only talked about. No one actually had Internet on his or her computers. In fact, I did my Bachelor’s degree on a typewriter. The only kind of information I had growing up was the kind that my schools and my parents were telling me. That’s about it. Sure I watched TV, but as a kid you skipped over the news and went straight to the cartoons.
Now? Kids as young as 8 or 9 have access to every bit of information there is in the world. Every perverted bit, every violent bit, every psychotic bit. (Admit it, you never got around to setting up that child protection thing on their computers or smart phones) Are these young terrorists just happening upon the wrong kind of information? My nephew also has full access to the Internet, as does my 11-year old niece. Yet, she looks up funny pictures of cats and stuff. So I ask again, is too much information to blame? Doubtful. Many of these kids are becoming radicalized at their local Mosque, at local coffee shops and street corners.
Yet it is undeniable that these psychos are filling a hole that the rest of us are obviously leaving wide open. There is a gap in the hearts of these young radicalized people that we desperately need to start filling up with love and goodness before the bad guys get to them. These kids have no capabilities of understanding the full picture. How do people become brainwashed? People are brainwashed when they are vulnerable, uninformed and misinformed.
Human beings have a desperate need to belong to something bigger than themselves. I think religion has failed despicably. By religion I do mean ALL religions. They have been too stuck in the past. Religions have been too busy hating the other religions, too busy sticking their noses in their holy books, obsessed with quoting verses and such to non-believers, and not doing what each of their holy men or prophets have taught them from the beginning: LOVE others.
Open your hearts to others. Show loving-kindness. Practice empathy. Stop blaming and start loving. Stop hiding behind your holy books, crosses, and stringent rituals and start realizing that we are all ONE. Each living being comes from the same, single source. How can we hate one person (or nation) when we are made from the same stuff as they are? How can we hate their violence when our own violence is happening within our own country?
I have no answers for all this terror and violence. But I do think that, just like I can get parking spots by manifesting them (see my article on how to do that here), we can start changing the energy of this world, bit by bit, towards more love, peace and connectedness. If we stop fearing the enemy, if we stop hating, and start focusing our thoughts on how we can provide love to these kids who are obviously trying to fill a gaping hole in their hearts, I am certain we can make a change towards the better. Do we need to defend ourselves against these crazies? Sure we do. But we as individuals don’t need to jump into a violent frenzy and start hating everyone. Let the brave men and women who defend us do what is necessary for that. Our job is to remain human, remain connected to the goodness that is in all of us.
Try to open your heart and reflect on how you would feel if your child was one of those kids. Can you find it in your heart to still love them?