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Trudi is scheduled to fly to Europe this Tuesday for her job with BMC.  She is, by chance, supposed to be flying into Brussels, Belgium.  So, obviously, she is concerned about the terrorist act at that airport, but probably more so, what she needs to do personally to not allow the act of terrorism become just that, potential terror.

I’ve been talking to her a lot about it and intellectually, it is an easy thing.  But, emotionally, it is a harder think.

Everywhere, well virtually everywhere, is a potential site of an act of terror.  It is impossible to protect yourself from exposure, there are way too many potential targets.  You can’t avoid all the airports, federal buildings, college campuses, etc. your whole life.   Let alone not going to professional bike races in Europe, when that is your job.

Trying to not think this is the case is hard for some.  It’s not hard for me, but I’ve never experienced anything related to this in a personal sense.  It happens very rarely here in the United States, which somewhat allows us to acknowledge it, then go on with our daily activities.  If it was happening on a constant basis, then most of us would be pretty concerned.

I read somewhere that most terrorism is done by people that consider their homeland to be under siege.  That is understandable.  People who choose terrorist tactics are also persuaded that violence, or the threat of violence, is effective.  And I believe it is.  It disrupts societies function.  Whatever the reasons, it is impossible to police.

The media or the government tells us who we need to be afraid of.  Initially it was the Taliban, then al-Qaeda, now it’s ISIS.  Honestly, I don’t know the difference between these groups.  It seems I should know the difference, but I just lump all of these guys together as terrorists.  That is probably wrong way more than I know.  But, I think many of us do this.

Like I said above, I don’t think society can protect itself from terrorism.  What we need to do is to try to alleviate the causes that drive them.  When people feel like they have no other choice than to strap a bunch of explosives to themselves and blow a bunch of strangers up, then that is what they most likely will do.  It isn’t that hard of a thing to accomplish.

I don’t have any answers for this problem.  We have a bunch of people around the world pretty mad at us right now.  There are a bunch of complicated reasons for this, way too many for me to begin to understand.  But the fact that there are very unhappy people who feel that their choices are getting very limited, close to that of no choice at all, is not a good thing for us.  We should probably try to piss fewer people off.  It doesn’t work out that well for anybody involved.

Brad Huff was sleeping right here just a few hours before the airport was attacked. I bet he has been thinking about this a lot.

Brad Huff was sleeping right here just a few hours before the airport was attacked. I bet he has been thinking about this a lot.

Tucker has a real lot of toys.

Tucker has a real lot of toys.


30 thoughts on “Terrorism

  1. Rod Lake

    “People who choose terrorist tactics are also persuaded that violence, or the threat of violence, is effective. And I believe it is. It disrupts societies function.”

    And it’s improved their life and their situation how?

    And damn, we’re pissing people off? How about they stop flying planes into towers, bombing airports, beheading people including gays, women and children, sowing airplanes, and killing marathons runner, and on and on. Sorry, but I’m pissed.

  2. Flahute

    I fly to BRU Thurs to do Flanders & Paris Roubaix fondos. The terrorists are suicidal guests in way too liberal Europe. I don’t care if they’re phased off. If they don’t appreciate the generous hospitality given them then they can all just leave–cause they don’t share values of tolerance. Simple as that. Nobody has a right to cause intentional carnage in the peloton.

  3. RB

    In order to start to solve this problem, we need to start to realize that they believe they’re the aggrieved party, and that their actions are righteous responses. The mistake most people (including many politicians) make is to be so clouded by fear, hate, or whatever that they can’t understand this. YOU DON’T HAVE TO BELIEVE THAT THEY’RE RIGHT. But you do have to understand it in order to fix it.

    To continually say “we’re pissed off at you, so we’re going to bomb you/invade you/terrorize you” will solve nothing, regardless of which side is saying it.

  4. Mark

    It’s not about us pissing them off. These terrorist are little more than thugs who have hijacked a religion to justify their insanity…It’s like the gang problems here in the states. They take weak minded people who have little direction in life and welcome them into their clique with open arms. Give them a sense of belonging. Then they indoctrinate/brainwash them into carrying out their evil deeds.

  5. Steve Tilford Post author

    Rod-I don’t think it improves their situation. But they don’t think like me. Sure you’re pissed. But that doesn’t fix the problems either. It’s a no win situation that is very divisive.

  6. Long Shadow Of History

    “It’s like the gang problems here in the states”…
    Not a productive viewpoint. I’m guessing you’re not referring to the NRA, which is what you should be doing if you were being honest.

    But you know what’s the common denominator from both your examples (terrorist and gangs)? The (overly white) ruling class of folks who run the country.

    Same class of folks who dropped more bombs in Cambodia than anything ever before way back when and the same class of folks that nodded in agreement when a 2016 would-be presidential candidate said he’d “carpet bomb” an entire country, just because. And no that wasn’t Donald Trump who said that.

  7. Rod Lake

    Try understanding them? That would be a terrific strategy if we were dealing with rational people. Forget rational, I’d settle for human. Pretty obvious there is nothing logical or rational about these immoral, murdering cowards. They lose all status of being “the aggrieved party” when they participate in beheading, suicide bombs, genocide, etc. It’s really pretty simple. They understand one thing and one thing only–violence. They will stop at nothing to destroy anything and everything they don’t believe in. That IS their stated goal. Sitting around the campfire and holding hands won’t change their way of thinking. How much more of these random killings are we willing to take in the name of tolerance? I’m obviously on the wrong side of this with the cycling crowd. But I am for peace and, in my opinion, time for talk is over. Unless these terrorist groups take the initiative and decide to call a truce and come to the table and talk like humans then they need to be held accountable–not tolerated at the aggrieved party.

  8. Bob Kemnedy

    Here in Kalamazoo we had a middle age insurance adjuster and Uber driver randomly kill 6 people between fares. My wife and I were riding our bikes home from a down town brewery and several police cars flew by. We had no idea what was going down until the next morning when we turned on NPR. The killer’s house was one I had ridden by hundreds of times to get out to my favorite bike routes. It’s all very strange and I don’t take my safety for granted any more, even off the bike.

  9. barb

    What did Belgium do to “piss off” the terrorists this time? These people have no rational motive, it’s religion-based, in that the multitudes of followers of Islam have been taught that it’s ok (and even the desired action) to kill non-believers, and the primary target is the Western world. And it is the Western world since “we” have invaded THEIR countries, killed hundreds of thousands of their people, all in the name of controlling oil. When Saddam invaded Kuwait, Bush senior intervened, resulting in the death of thousands of civilians and the primary reason was the rest of the world (mostly American oil barons) didn’t want Saddam in control of Kuwait’s considerable oil resources. During the Persian Gulf invasion, “we” did stuff like one infamous incident during the war highlighted the question of large-scale Iraqi combat deaths. This was the `bulldozer assault’ in which two brigades from the U.S. Army’s 1st Infantry Division (Mechanized)–The Big Red One–used plows mounted on tanks and combat earthmovers to bury Iraqi soldiers defending the fortified “Saddam Line.” While approximately 2,000 of the troops surrendered, escaping burial, one newspaper story reported that the U.S. commanders estimated thousands of Iraqi soldiers had been buried alive during the two-day assault February 24-25, 1991. So here is my dilemma with what “we” did…It wasn’t “ok” for Saddam to invade a smaller country (Kuwait), but it’s ok for the United States to do exactly that, kill their leader and his sons (Saddam and his sons), and force our way of life on a diametrically opposite social and political system that has endured there for thousands of years. The second Bush prez invaded Iraq illegally in 2003, and that invasion completely destabilized the entire region, which is why we’re in the mess we’re in now, with the growing presence of ISIS and other terrorist movements. In the course of these two invasions, we produced thousands of veterans with serious disabilities due to exposure to toxic waste and chemicals, and who sacrificed their lives and health to protect big oil interests. And who are still dying for a lost cause. It has evolved past protecting oil, now we just have a huge mess because we invaded them, and they never wanted us there to begin with. Yes “we” drove Al Queda out of Iraq (and tried to put our own Shite puppet regime in power – that failed) but all that did was force the dissidents to move the mess to Afghanistan. Yes, “we” carved inroads into defeating the Taliban in Afghanistan, but the mess just moved to Syria and north Africa, and other countries, and now we’re dealing with ISIS. Some people are all for allowing Muslim refugees into America, and it isn’t the older adults/parents we have to worry about, it’s the 2nd and 3rd generation, who are the ones doing these bombings and acting under ISIS. The Belgium bombers were in their 20s. I’m not unpatriotic, but there are reasons they’re “pissed at us.” But aside from that, killing all infidels is the driving force behind terrorist bombings. Gaining worldwide attention, as well as these misguided invasions have also resulted in recruiting thousands of new followers. If one knows the history of American meddling in smaller countries government, and US hegemony in the world, it’s understandable why “they’re pissed.” This is not a winnable war, look up Asymmetric War. We haven’t won a war like this since before 1950, and our ongoing military engagement is going to be one of the contributors to the eventual bankruptcy and economic collapse of America. Russia took that route during the cold war and bankrupted their country, and they’ve never recovered. Most of the people live in poverty there…

  10. Kevin Lyons

    Perhaps you are overthinking it. I was in Morocco a fews ago, in Fez, went to the city garbage dump.
    People live in cardboard boxes, pick scraps to sell. Smoke dope all day long. Basically, not much of a life. I was told these were future suicide bombers, this where they recruit. Promise ’em anything, in the great beyond, and easy peasy.
    And the nice thing about the great beyond promises, never have to really pay up :-).

    This is my theory, might be right, might not.

  11. E Peogh

    Yeah sux.
    We have domestic terrorism in the USA ~ people shooting it up.
    Don’t leave home unarmed. At least we can carry in the USA. Can you in Brussels as a private citizen? Or France, England etc? Thank goodness for the 2A.

    Don’t get me wrong. I don’t like packing. However I feel that it’s my responsibility to safeguard my family and fellow citizens if need be.

  12. Fsonicsmith

    Man oh man, there are some scary people reading the Blog. I assumed the readership would be at a higher level. All I need to see to make this complete is a conspiracy theorist or two. Come on in guys, the water is warm!

  13. have_a_beer_with_fear

    Initially it was the Taliban, then al-Qaeda, now it’s ISIS.

    The more fear generated, the easier it is to get consent. Someone, somewhere, is hard at work manufacturing more fear.

    Logically, Trudi has nothing to worry about. The terrible episode is over. We all understand that logic has nothing to do with it.

  14. Der Flahute

    This is not the first “terrible episode” nor the last. But bike races are probably not prime targets.

  15. Der Flahute

    I think the readership is making decent contributions. You may not like them but they’re well thought-out.
    Civil discourse from a diverse readership is a pretty cool thing nowadays, no?

  16. The Cyclist

    How about Boufanny winning a couple days ago when speakers said “Wouldn’t it be a nice gesture to let a Belgian win today?”. Which also happened two days later, today… no thanks to Boufanny.

  17. Russell

    This is a normal discussion of a dilemma. Some fight. Some don’t. We might all be fighters when the right threat presents itself. To most of us, Belgium is irrelevant. Some will show more emotion when our team loses in the ncaa tourney. That’s relevance.

  18. darkcloud

    If you look at the history of Islam, you’ll see that this stuff is nothing new. It’s not the peaceful religion that many desperately want to believe it to be.
    A Persian friend who was raised Muslim and has denounced the faith, says that westerners have it all wrong. It’s not “radical” Muslims who rape and kill and practice jihad, for these actions are encouraged by the Koran. Rather, the “radical” Muslims are those who espouse peace and acceptance of non Muslims.
    Most (all) of these predominantly Muslim countries were made so through violence. “Accept Islam, flee or be enslaved or murdered.”
    Europe has screwed up big time by taking these immigrants in and some prominent American politicians are setting the wheels in motion to do the same. Sheer stupidity.

  19. Der Flahute

    I’ve traveled throughout N. Africa & Middle East & you’re 100% correct on that. Americans like to believe the best & sugarcoat everything. But our idealism fails to comprehend Muslim society: misogynistic, cruel, authoritarian, cowardly. Never can or will be democratic. If not for oil, there would be little interest. If we dropped 10million iPads & Nikes from the sky would that improve their lot? Or free bikes for all?

  20. Fsonicsmith

    I’m no fan of Jingoism and without wishing to dive headfirst into Republican vs. Democratic ideals, I cringe at the W years and the many costly mistakes made in terms of human lives, American, Iraqi, and Afghan. But to try and blame the US and it’s quest for oil as the root cause of world-wide terrorism is so overly simplistic and misguided that it makes my barf-reflex go off. You can’t base your world view of terrorism on some movie you saw twice featuring George Clooney. And wtf does the US’s meddling in South America have to do with terrorism? Did this deep thinker of the long screed above derive this from listening to The Clash? Great, a world view based on George Clooney and Joe Strummer. Thanks dude.

  21. Doug

    Not all the terrorists in Europe are guests.
    Many are native born Europeans.
    Notably the guy who attacked in Paris.
    The “two wrongs will somehow add up to right” philosophy is at work, seems to me.
    An eye for an eye, ’till the whole world is blind.
    So tragic, for us all.

  22. Larry T.

    Agreed. The US has been pissing people off for a long, long, time. Now and then they get pissed of enough to jab the giant in the eye , often losing their own lives in the process. And the US responds with “How many of these mofo’s do we have to kill before they understand violence is not the answer?” It’s long past the time we should have learned our lessons, but the military-industrial complex ol’ Ike warned us about seems too powerful for anyone to stop.

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