Eleanna Davos ’20
Americans have the memory retention of a tick. That’s not a statement targeting a certain political party, race, or organized group. That is a statement about every American in this country. This is not a generalization about every issue in the United States, but a fact about all Americans when it comes to terrorism. Before I begin, I want to make sure it’s clear that I know how much of an impact terrorism has on us as a whole. Like many Americans, I have been affected by terrorism on two separate accounts, one directly and one indirectly. So, I do understand the pain and suffering that comes from the aftermath of a terrorist event. When I write the following, I’m writing from a first-hand account by someone who has been affected. Following a terrorist event, many think “why”, “why our city”, “why would someone do this”, or “why do we allow these events to happen so often?”
These questions were presented again a week and half ago in New York City, when 29 year old Sayfullo Saipov drove his rented pickup truck into cyclists and runners for a mile along the Hudson River Park’s bike path, where eight died and eleven were injured. After pledging allegiance to ISIS, he was later shot and taken into custody by an NYPD officer. After further investigation, it was revealed that Saipov also had a plan to perpetrate a similar attack on the Brooklyn Bridge. However, it is unclear whether the bridge was his initial plan or if he was planning on committing both attacks. Every time terrorist attacks occur, members of the community always come together for reflection and mourning, and there are tributes every year on the day of the event to mark remembrance. Politicians always make statements about how something needs to change and how this pattern of attacks committed by either a group of people (such as ISIS) or an individual for his own reasons, are not sanctioned and something needs to change in order to protect everyone on U.S. soil. The reason I believe my statement that Americans have the memory retention of a small tick is because, even though everyone posts tributes of lost ones on the day of the attack every year, people don’t seem to be able to remember that there is a pattern here. Usually they are people who come overseas, pledge alliance to terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda, ISIS, or Boko Haram, commit an act of terrorism, either kill themselves or are shot by police, or are taken into custody to later stand trial. Clearly this is a simplified and “dumbed down” list of a terrorist event, but the basic pattern of events is consistent.
Change starts with conversation, but this conversation has been happening for years on end. Since 9/11 there have been several terrorist attacks and unfortunately no solid change in national policy has occurred. In the bluntest words, this means that events like these will continue to occur if everyone “talks the talk” about change, but nothing is done to create change. It’s easy for people to hate Trump, but it is difficult for them to acknowledge that he just may be the president who isn’t talking about everything that can be changed to protect American citizens, but rather, he is implementing specific polices and sanctions to prevent people from committing acts of terrorism. Yes, I understand the eight-country travel ban is drastic and some people feel it targets all people in those countries, but it does not and nor were its intentions to relay that message. People who wish to come into the country with good legal standing will not be denied entry. It is people who pose a threat to the country and would not be well-meaning members of society in regard to public safety. It may just be the time for some drastic changes because we have been tip-toeing around the topic. This may scare people, but it’s time to stop these ill-minded people.