We all have a lot of emotions bubbling over after the terror attacks in Paris on Friday. Terrorism is designed to make us fearful of the perpetrators, but also to make us distrustful of ourselves and each other. If your first reaction to terrorism is the we need to “nuke ’em all!” — as my initial response to the 9/11 attacks was — congratulations! You have played right into the terrorists’ hands. This is not a sign of weakness in you at all, but an example of the power of random violence. The good news, typically this power is short-lived. We get past the shock and return to more rational behaviors. The bad news is, this means the cycle will repeat itself. Hang tough, friends.
Meanwhile, on Facebook some of our emotional friends might say things they would normally filter out — angry things that might belie a subtext of bigotry. Or maybe they’re happily racist. Or they’ll suggest that an entire group of human beings need to be wiped from the face of the earth. So, you might suggest to that person that, no, not every single one of that entire group should be wiped from the face of the earth. Or, you might stray into the comments section of a terror related news story and discover what a friend of mine calls “the bottom half of the Internet,” people willing to say the most disgusting, hateful things imaginable all because someone else has done the most disgusting, hateful thing imaginable. That’s just means that the terrorism is working.
It reminds me of a Thanksgiving Tweet by a comedian I saw years ago that said, “There’s an app that tells you which of your relatives are racist. It’s called ‘Facebook.'” That brilliant Tweet led to these two meme-like things.