Why evil will never win

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

It will never work. Not in America. Evil will never win because Americans are Ö well, Americans. Let me explain.

We hear it repeatedly. Whether weíre talking about terrorism in the sense of an organized group perpetrating horrific acts or the looser definition of terrorism that involves a lone individual targeting people at a theater or church or concert, we hear that the goal is to incite fear, the result of which is a complete change in our way of life. The apparent immediate goal is to kill, to maim, to destroy. But the ultimate goal is deeper. Itís to stop us from going about our daily lives as we once did, afraid the next wave of horror will come plummeting any moment. Well, sadly, it may. Letís face it: We live in increasingly dangerous times, and most of us are aware of this and perhaps are even on the lookout for it.

Evil will not win, however, because people ó Americans, in particular ó are simply too accustomed to freedom, too in love with amenities and too resilient to be bound by fear for too long.

My heart aches over the tragic shooting in Las Vegas that left nearly 60 dead and more than 500 wounded. People out to enjoy a concert with family and friends should not be gunned down, just as people walking down a street should not be mowed down and people participating in a marathon should not be blown up. But these are the times in which we live. This is the new reality. Yet I still declare with conviction, evil will not win.

Despite the pain and fear these times bring, evil loses. Why? Because it is unnatural for us to give in to it. We hurt. We mourn. We may even despair. But we do not surrender. Weíre not wired for surrender. Even through the most tragic of circumstances, people are wired to get back up.

We suffer devastation. We endure shock. We get counseling. But eventually, we pull ourselves together, and we move forward. Thatís why a husband can lose a wife of 60 years and manage to crawl his way out of sadness. Thatís why children who lose parents grieve but eventually allow their memories to be their comfort. Thatís why people who witness the unthinkable ó innocent people targeted by evil men intent on their demise ó learn to face crowds again. Itís almost incomprehensible that those who have suffered so much could overcome so much ó and thereafter, accomplish so much.

Considering the anguish behind us, the threats among us and the uncertainty ahead of us, it would not be unforgivable if some curled themselves into a fetal position and remained there. It almost seems the normal reaction. But itís not. Rare, actually, is the individual who does not find the strength at some point to persevere. We worry about that person because the normal thing, as history illustrates, is getting back up and getting back to life. That ability to bounce back is as American as our freedom and our founding. Itís more than an American quality. Itís a human quality. Itís how God created all of us. Yet it seems to resonate most conspicuously in this land we call America.

Attacks occur at concerts, in churches, on streets, within subways, aboard planes and so on. They take place in the home, on vacation, at work and at school ó and yet, people still frequent every one of these places ó and we always will. The next concert, bus tour, flight and church service will not be empty ó ever.

Thatís why I say terrorism will never win. If its goals are to make us pine away in obscurity, to annihilate our freedom, to paralyze with fear ó and, make no mistake, those are terrorismís goals ó evil already has lost.

Americans, like no other people, love freedom, prosperity and doing what we do too much to hand them over ó no matter the risk. We are a bit of a spoiled people, you know, which, letís admit, isnít always good. But in this case ó where our identity and existence hang in the balance ó it may be a tool that helps secure our survival.

Adrienne Ross is owner of Adrienne Ross Communications and a former Southeast Missourian editorial board member. Contact her at aross@semissourian.com.

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