Friday, January 9, 2015

Retail Terrorism

A news reporter refered to the Charlie Hebdo and kosher grocery story attack in Paris as "retail terrorism," to be distinguished from "wholesale terrorism." Apparently, "retail terrorrism" refers to acts committed by individuals as opposed to "wholesale terrorism," which is state-sponsored.

The monikers assigned to these murderous acts are astonishing and tip us off to the real problem underlying an epidemic of radical fundamentalism. "Retail" and "wholesale" are terms used in the marketplace...the human moshpit where there are winners and losers in the contest for money, power and resources.

The political Rubiks Cube that has led to this dismal state of affairs resembles a bar brawl. One intoxicated person with unresolved anger takes a swing at another bloke, and in no time the whole joint is fighting. And nobody knows why.

Tracing the roots of our current state of world affairs would take us back to the dawn of civilization; history is replete with accounts of one civilization over running another - wholesale war. But now, with the ready availability of deadly weapons to the public (the retail market), we have a democratic movement. Anyone can get a gun and kill at will, without a draft or an enlisted army to oversee wholesale extermination. 

The fundamental problem lies in a misplaced emphasis on the dark side of human nature: the side that lives in fear of survival and must always be on alert for marauders who would take away their security. 

But there is also a bright side of humanity -  a basic goodness that recognizes the universal desire for happiness and harmony, a knowing that we are all the same at the core.

Recently, a refugee from religious/political violence explained that we need to focus on educating the children - the little ones whose minds have not yet been poisoned by delusional adults. While it may be impossible to untangle the knots of twisted adult minds, in the best of all possible worlds we could teach our children to love more and fear less. Then, when they are teenagers that want to shop, they can go to retail stores to buy smartphones instead of kalashnikovs.

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