We often hear how terrorists are hitting “soft targets,” or at least, they carry a high risk of being attacked. They’re those everyday situations, so they don’t feel too “soft” to us, living everyday life. And if we’re honest, they aren’t “soft” to a terrorist either. After all, there’s as much intent to harm regardless. Sure, fewer people might be involved, but numbers really don’t make an attack better or worse. An attack is an attack. Pain and suffering is pain and suffering. Scare tactics are scare tactics, and death is death.
The target is pretty much always the same. People see our culture (or another) as a threat to their lifestyle and ideology, and they will do anything to attack, threaten, and take it down. They cause harm, because they see harm being done to them. It sounds odd, because we might not have any personal interactions with people who seem to hate us so much. We feel distanced from them, but they make assumptions about us and us about them, which only helps that feeling of distance. It also helps us generalize.
People justify some really bizarre things.
We can try to understand motivations without respecting or approving of them.
In fact, when we don’t try to understand, we’re actually at more of a risk, because we’re only preparing and responding to the possibilities based on our generalizations (and often our fears). We have more responsibility than we want to embrace at times. We need to ask questions, help fix misconceptions, and trust God more than we trust our own preferences, comfort, social media posts, or friends’ opinions. Just because something sounds good doesn’t make it true.