Terrorism: Noun: The use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims.
When tragedy strikes it is often times that people lose their faith in humanity. In incidents of our past this much is true. How many of us trembled when we felt our world stand still in horror when the towers fell? How many of us shook our heads in shame when a shooter took aim on patrons of a movie theater? How many of us felt our ground shake when a shooter opened fire on defenseless children?
It’s a truth, that we live in a terrifying and horrible world today. It is truly heartbreaking and it is understandable how one’s faith in people can be tested due to the tragedy that continues to plague us, much like the ones aforementioned and so many more that were not mentioned. I believe that it is important to remember this one powerful quote that we’ve all heard throughout history. “United we stand, divided we fall.”
Many of you may be wondering why tragedy such as this would befall on us, or how someone could do something like this to their fellow man and it’s actually quite clear. To divide us. To put us in a position where we believe we can trust no one. Many of you may be feeling an overwhelming sense of impending doom, or helplessness. This is natural and you are not alone. Now is not a time to hide away in the comfort and safety of our homes but to set aside all differences and stand together in prayer and unity with our brothers and sisters and remember that together we can be strong enough to fight through this.
On a personal note, I was provoked to write on this today after my lecture in Social Psychology. We’re going over the reasons for why people help, how they help, and when they help. After the daily quiz, the lecture was to begin where we left off last week. However before the lecture began my professor had put a scene from the Boston explosions on the screen and tearfully began to explain how she herself always felt heartbroken and lost when things like this happened, and how she always wondered how another person could do something this horrendous to their own. I myself was nearing tears in my spot in the back of the classroom trying to keep a handle on my emotions. I listened to her intently. “But then the most extraordinary thing occurred people started to run toward the wreckage to help those that were injured. People, bystanders, put their own lives in danger to help those that had been wounded almost immediately.”
She gave us a moment to let the gravity of her words hit us before she continued. “My faith in people was restored when I saw people running towards the explosions to help others.”
I sat quietly like many of my classmates, feeling closer to them than ever before, and more aware of the world around me than I ever have. Later in the lecture, I would find that this was a powerful example of altruism.
Altruism: Noun: 1. The belief in or practice of disinterested and selfless concern for well-being of others. 2. Behavior of an animal that benefits another at its own expense.
Many have argued whether or not true altruism exists or not for quite some time, or so I’ve gathered from what I learned in class today. After the lecture, and after some thinking, I’ve reached my own personal opinion that yes, true altruism does in fact exist, although rare, it’s still there shining like a beacon of hope.
All that being said, any of you who happen to stumble on this, I hope you can find some hope in humanity as well, and I implore you, do not give up on this world just yet. I leave you now with the wise words of a young woman from our history who saw much tragedy as well.
“In spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.”
Amelia Montoya is a Sweetwater High School graduate and is currently attending Angelo State University in San Angelo. Comments about this column may be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org .