Down With the Internet

The recent suicide bombing in England was devastating and despicable. Isis or whatever name we give to this hate group, those who commit such acts of terrorism should all be sent to the depths of hell. Apparently the mostly young people who carry out these suicide attacks are persons who become “radicalized.” My understanding is the leaders of Isis use the internet as a primary means to attract followers. This outreach is to western countries, basically countries with minority Muslim populations. A few, actually very few people, in these countries become “radicalized.” Some are encouraged to leave their current life style and travel to an area where each can become fighters for Isis. Isis is a political organization engaging in territorial acquisition through aggression claiming to be acting in the name of god (with a small g). If what I have read is correct many of these young recruits are becoming disaffected when actually seeing what Isis pursues as its objectives; apparently power, money and land by any means. No reading has ever indicated that important religious learning centers are established within the ares which come under Isis control. No educational centers and no agencies to help the people who live in occupied lands and no improved lifestyles for those residents of the occupied lands are part of any Isis programs. Brutal rulers who rape, steal and kill to keep power and control describes who and what Isis actually is.

Why do people believe their rhetoric? What lifestyles are they living that they think this group is right or good or better? What is going on in some young person’s mind in any of our western countries? Is trying to reconcile the action of the earlier crusades really relevant or more likely just some bogus cup of kool aid? The overwhelming number of people killed or harmed by Isis are not the crusaders or Christians or godless persons but are members of the Muslim religion. The same people fleeing their homelands to escape these horrific conditions. How do these recruits reconcile all of this if their motivation is some distorted religious notion? Recently the noted scholar, Jessica Stern, indicated that a large number of these recruits either are criminals or have criminal records. My thought is these recruits probably are not looking for some alleged religious cause. What can be a motivator for the others? Maybe ignorance, feelings of hopelessness, seeking a deeper religious conviction, although not possible through Isis, might motivate a person to search the web for answers.

Such searches have made us all lazy. The web is a wonderful tool but does have its negatives. Searching catch words or phrases works so easily. Type the word or words and bingo in black and white with lots of color the suggestions appear easy, not much work, not much thought. The most frequent or most read (maybe) appears. We may scroll down the list to number 5 or 6 or 8 or 10 but number 612, probably not. Are we researching or grabbing the first straw, a quick down and dirty as they say. Recruitment may work somewhat because it doesn’t target poor people, or recent refugees, or people with money, or people escaping a life of crime, or people seeking a deeper religious faith, or crazy people looking for a way to get even for who knows what. In fact it doesn’t necessarily target anyone specifically but rather all of these and more. Isis places the information out there all dressed up with pretty pictures, catch phrases, promises of something more meaningful but in reality all lies and distortions.

Why any person would find this appealing is beyond me. Perhaps psychologists and psychiatrists or counselors can answer or guess. Where do young people find the motivation to voluntarily sneak off to some foreign country or perhaps to stay home and commit these heinous acts? There isn’t a local Islamist or Isis recruiter operating out of a storefront in a mall, no TV or radio ads. The various Muslim organizations in this country have spoken out against such false beliefs that lead to such acts. We are told these are not in the Koran. Searching the web, the good oie internet, has become a recruitment method with some success.

Many people in this country today suggest banning followers of the Islamic religion residing in or fleeing certain countries from coming here. Others go so far as to say no Muslims period. I believe those refugees are probably the recipients of the most Isis abuse. Part of the problem with this rationale is that most acts of terror have been committed by citizens of the country where the act of terror was committed such as San Bernardino, Orlando, Manchester, and others. There should be substantial concern about targeting and labeling a specific group as suspect terrorists. If the people committing the crime are citizens or long time residents, then what is achieved by banning people from legally entering our country. Granted Isis would try to infiltrate a group of refugees so vetting is needed and has been quite thorough for several years. However that response to the problem plays to emotion but not a real solution. Let me add this tongue in check, being absurd, not serious, whatever let’s shut down the internet. Absurd yes but with more of a basis in fact than indiscriminately banning people. Teaching people about the use of the internet and where the information that is posted comes from might be a more logical approach. How information gets on the net and not stopping on page two when there are twenty more pages of information available might allow people to understand what false news actually is. Maybe it’s time we learn to check the source and date of the information. Education is a wonderful thing but is perhaps best not simply acquired online.

Security agencies including intelligence, investigative and local police perform well and are our first line of defense. These agencies use intellect, brain power and the legal means to prevent and when necessary resolve terrorist acts. These agencies deserve our respect. We can better respect their their work and support their efforts by being smarter or simply using our heads to help overcome the threats we face.

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