WASHINGTON, D.C. April 22, 2013 — Acts of terror are now a frequent occurrence in America, and the response has become routine.
The country goes into shock. We grieve. We mourn. We cry. Then we move on, like we have already become accustomed to it.
The routine is the same, whether it is after the massacre in a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, at an elementary school in Newtown, in a movie theater in Colorado or after the bombing at a marathon in Boston.
We hold night vigils to pray for the victims and their families. We applaud the victimized city for their strength and perseverance. We honor the selfless first responders and law enforcement officials for their bravery.
Then we wait for the President of the United States to give a heart-warming speech that comforts the nation and reassures the public that justice will be done.
When that is over, we begin searching for answers. Who did this and why? What kind of person massacres fellow citizens? What kind of person drops a bomb at a marathon and calmly walks off the scene in indifference.
The media speculates about the motives. In the case of the Boston Marathon bombing, it must be a right-wing anti-government extremist. Patriot Day and Tax Day probably had something to do with it. They go on and on.
Analysts and experts continue to talk even when they have no new information. The tragedy remains a breaking news story on every cable TV network for a day or two. #PrayForNewtown, #PrayForBoston, and #BostonStrong hashtags trend on twitter for a few days.
Then what happens? Everyone gets back to their busy lives. The media moves on to other stories. Life goes on. We adjust. The next tragedy happens and the routine begins over again.
If we continue to adjust to the status quo, we run the risk of becoming numb to the suffering of other people. We become immune to the horror.
Life, indeed, must go on. But it should be with a sense of purpose, a plan of action and a determination to prevent such acts of terror in the future.
Ayobami is a graduate student in George Washington University’s Graduate School of Political Management.
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