“Justice without mercy is tyranny..”

I’m not claiming to be an expert or to even have a solid solution. I understand the anger, I understand the fear.. the feelings of betrayal, feelings of oppression, loss, disbelief, and powerlessness. However, I do not think more brutality is the answer. Never have, never will. There’s nothing that will convince me that we should go and bomb other countries and possibly take more innocent lives in order to stop one group of terrorists. We need to find a new strategy. I feel that the ones in charge who say we must stop ISIS by showing them we are stronger through force and violence feel pressured to take such actions, and maybe they don’t realize the absurdity of this idea.

Many people are angry right now about the attacks in Paris. Believe me, I am too. I am angry about all of the animosity and anguish that continues to happen in every country.. Benghazi, Lebanon, Syria, etc. However, I do not believe we send the message of “strength” when we retaliate with even more violence than the original attacks. One may say it will only get worse if we don’t go to extremes and take them out by killing them. I would argue that maybe we should try another approach. They’ve apparently already figured out the mastermind behind the terrorism, so bring him and his team to justice the way any murderer is brought to justice. Leave innocent civilians alone. Don’t bomb their home. Don’t make them live in fear. Do not take more lives that should not be taken and do not put more people in misery.

Yes, the victims deserve justice. But do you think more bloodshed and disorder is what they want? Think about it. Do you think that during the madness that went on November 13th, the victims were thinking about how much hate they had for the barbarians that were responsible? I can’t say for certain but I do not think that is so. They were afraid that they’re life was over, and this story of one survivor from the attacks in Paris leads me to believe their thoughts were shifted toward love:

“you never think it will happen to you. It was just a friday night at a rock show. the atmosphere was so happy and everyone was dancing and smiling. and then when the men came through the front entrance and began the shooting, we naiively believed it was all part of the show. It wasn’t just a terrorist attack, it was a massacre. Dozens of people were shot right infront of me. Pools of blood filled the floor. Cries of grown men who held their girlfriends dead bodies pierced the small music venue. Futures demolished, families heartbroken. in an instant. Shocked and alone, I pretended to be dead for over an hour, lying among people who could see their loved ones motionless.. Holding my breath, trying to not move, not cry – not giving those men the fear they longed to see. I was incredibly lucky to survive. But so many didn’t. The people who had been there for the exact same reasons as I – to have a fun friday night were innocent. This world is cruel. And acts like this are suppose to highlight the depravity of humans and the images of those men circuling us like vultures will haunt me for the rest of my life. The way they meticoulsy aimed at shot people around the standing area i was in the centre of without any consideration for human life. It didn’t feel real. i expected any moment for someone to say it was just a nightmare. But being a survivor of this horror lets me able to shed light on the heroes. To the man who reassured me and put his life on line to try and cover my brain whilst i whimpered, to the couple whose last words of love kept me believing the good in the world, to the police who succeded in rescuing hundreds of people, to the complete strangers who picked me up from the road and consoled me during the 45 minutes I truly believed the boy i loved was dead, to the injured man who i had mistaken for him and then on my recognition that he was not Amaury, held me and told me everything was going to be fine despite being all alone and scared himself, to the woman who opened her doors to the survivors, to the friend who offered me shelter and went out to buy new clothes so i wouldnt have to wear this blood stained top, to all of you who have sent caring messages of support – you make me believe this world has the potential to be better. to never let this happen again. but most of this is to the 80 people who were murdered inside that venue, who weren’t as lucky, who didnt get to wake up today and to all the pain that their friends and families are going through. I am so sorry. There’s nothing that will fix the pain. I feel priviledged to be there for their last breaths. And truly beliving that I would join them, I promise that their last thoughts were not on the animals who caused all this. It was thinking of the people they loved. As i lay down in the blood of strangers and waiting for my bullet to end my mere 22 years, I envisioned every face that I have ever loved and whispered I love you. over and over again. reflecting on the highlights of my life. Wishing that those i love knew just how much, wishing that they knew that no matter what happened to me, to keep belieivng in the good in people. to not let those men win. Last night, the lives of many were forever changed and it is up to us to be better people. to live lives that the innocent victims of this tragedy dreamt about but sadly will now never be able to fulfil. RIP angels. You will never be forgotten.” -Isobel B.

I cannot say all the victims felt this way, but if you look back at other tragedies, like the recent riots in Ferguson for example.. what did the parents of Michael Brown want? They wanted justice, yes.. but they were also calling for peace. They did not want the violence. They were hurting over their loss, but they did not partake in rioting, they wanted peace and calm.

It should be alarming that people are so quick to make the decision to take another person’s life. Without batting an eye they say that we need to worry about ourselves and kill anyone who threatens our territory. Killing is not the answer, it never will be. Too many people are using this tragedy as a justification and solidification of their violent tendencies. It’s selfish, and that’s all there is to it.

When you’re about to die, do you really believe you’re going to start thinking of all the things you hate, or about everything you could have done differently? Or will you think about your loved ones, and reflect on the life you were fortunate to have. People are known to be irrational thinkers when they’re angry or afraid. If you stop and think about our very being, you will understand there is more good than bad. Given the option, most would choose love over hate, as love transcends and hate does not. We are going nowhere if we choose to continue the cycle of hate. But we can move mountains if we could just learn to love.

This may seem weak, this belief that love can overpower hate. But look at all the accomplishments that have been made when we decided to look past our differences, and to give the alternative a try. We’ve come so far through love but we will only continue the deadly, terror cycle that dominates this planet if we choose to react the way we always have. It’s time to raise awareness, in a positive way. It’s time to let go of the past and think about which path leads to a brighter future. It’s time to wake up.

Now you may be thinking that all sounds fine and dandy but it’s not realistic. It is, and here’s how you can help. Donate to charities that respond to such traumatic events, and natural disasters. Show your support but don’t be selfish. A simple facebook status or profile picture is most likely not going to change anything, it’s merely there to display your ‘awareness’ of what’s going on, and that you are doing what feels right when tragedy strikes. Spread love through simple acts of kindness. Be there for someone. Hug your loved ones extra tight so they know how much they are loved and appreciated. Go out of your way to make someone’s day a little better. You have the power to change the world, all you have to do is start.

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