This past week the world witnessed yet another horrific act of senseless violence. Twenty-two (22) lives lost without reason; and for those touched by this tragedy, there was an ebbing of innocence as they were forever changed.
As with many acts of mass violence, there seem to be more questions than answers, and apparently, no one to hold accountable as evidence suggests the perpetrator was also killed during the blast.
The most pressing question at times like this is, why? Why would someone hate so much that they would feel justified in ending countless lives and think it a worthy sacrifice over which also to end their own?
I condemn such cowardly and terroristic acts in all their forms and manifestations and believe that those at risk should pursue any and all means available to safeguard themselves and their loved ones. To whom much is given, much is demanded, and people look to the leaders they elect to find ways to protect them. However, the harsh reality is that it's an impossible task to keep everyone safe 100 percent of the time, so what can we do?
Terrorism can take many forms. It is easy to look at the person(s) accused of this crime and label an entire nation as terrorists. It is easy to condemn certain religions that seem to advocate and encourage followers to destroy anyone who does not share similar ideologies, but we must be careful, or we may find ourselves hating as much as they do and that is a slippery slope we never want to go down.
I'll tell you what we can't do... we can't build a wall and hope that everyone on our side of the barrier behaves and never hurts us, we can't impose bans on entire regions and think that as long as they stay on their side of the ocean terrorism will be over. The truth is that terrorists can be born anywhere and groomed in any culture and it can manifest in many different ways.
I believe that we can begin to put a dent in violent acts like these when we commit once more to being our brother's keepers; being parents to our children and understanding that it takes a village to raise a child.
What does it take? We need to be inquisitive, curious, caring, show some tough love and stop sequestering ourselves behind our curtains and hoping the evil will not touch us.
We don't have to travel to Manchester to understand terrorism because every life we lose here is an act of terror and we should treat it as such. We need to get angry, not at law enforcement but at those among us who shelter and enable and protect the ones who cause harm.
We need to go to war and use the weapon of unity, which is a powerful weapon. We need to embrace the responsibility we all have and recognize that the greatest threat to our liberties and life isn't growing in a country far away but sits right here on our doorsteps, and it's in our power to stop it and root it out.
Life is precious, it is everything, and people have the right to live peaceful lives unshadowed by the threat of terror far away or home grown. I promise to do my part, to use as many resources as possible to protect every family here in Plainfield, I promise to walk arm in arm with you as a brother. I promise to stand shoulder to shoulder with everyone who gets mad and decides, not here, not today and takes a stand. I promise that a city unified cannot be vulnerable and cannot be defeated.
The words of Dr. King are timeless "We can stand together as brothers or perish together as fools."
Plainfield let's commit to fighting terror in all its forms, together we are stronger!
Please be safe as you celebrate this Memorial Day weekend and remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice