Monsters in our Midst

We always thought there were monsters under the bed or in the closet. Closets that were vast enough to stretch all the way to Narnia. I saw them in the movies, too. But at least those particular monsters were innocuous (harmless) enough and would not bother us if we did not try to come after first with torches and pitchforks. But during those childhood days of yore and yesterday…we were protected from knowing about the existence of real monsters that probably will not get us in our lifetimes unless we win the Lottery from Hell as those poor people in Paris experienced the other week.

I have a message for all of them. There is more of us than there are of you! Those monsters from our days of Halloween and black-and-white films directed by the likes of James Whale were at least brazen, they had flair, and did not go after random people for absolutely no reason. That is right, you cowards. I would have gladly gone out to Starbucks with the Frankenstein Monster or Dracula than even glanced at the likes of you!

I do not know much about the Parisian culture, although I assume that many of them work very hard just like you and myself. All they wanted to do is go out for a fun evening on the town and forget about the burden from the week. They should not have to be geared to fight for their lives as unarmed men against those armed to the teeth to create misery and havoc throughout our world.

There is a world outside our window. A world sometimes filled with dread and fear. But we will be armed to fight them with our humanity...while occasionally shedding a bitter tear. Do they know there are more of us than them? (I adapted a lyric from a much-misunderstood song by a music group called, “Band Aid” called, “Do they Know it’s Christmas?”)

These monsters are destroying lives beyond those they have literally destroyed with their own hands. What about the young woman who was set to visit Paris for a semester abroad next spring to study the culinary arts. Like any sensible person, she will not want to put herself in a position where she may be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Therefore, she will prefer to remain at home where it is comfortable and where there has not been a major terrorist attack for fourteen years. Poor Stacey will not have that experience that would have propelled her into this new craft, passion, and career. She will instead start to do things that were not meant for her life. “Two roads in the woods converge and what path will she take?” The wrong one indeed because of such innate cowardice!

Let us always attempt to live our lives without fear. Many thousands of planes take off every single day and just about all of them make it safely without even a minor mechanical problem. The acts of terrorism are created to inspire “terror” far beyond those who have been actual victims of death, serious injuries, and trauma beyond simply being present. We are not going to ever give into such terror and this is going to be our greatest victory against the likes of monsters.

This past weekend I went home, which is something I do pretty much every weekend until I get used to Albany one of these days. It was worth the trip because this week I saw the Mid-Hudson bridge illuminated in the colors of the French flag. I forget who said it, but we are all Parisians right now. And how! Go forth without the fear that these abominations seek to inspire without humanity…

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