A terrorist’s weapon is fear. Fear spread through pernicious ideas. Fear brought about by lies, half-truths and, unfortunately, sometimes by the truth. You can kill a terrorist. You, in fact, should kill, capture and destroy terrorists because, unfortunately, some people only respond to force. But killing a terrorist does not defeat them. It can actually make the situation worse. To truly defeat a terrorist, you need to take away the fear. Then they have no propaganda for recruiting, no stick to drive the terrified masses, no great evil that they can portray themselves as the good guy against. You give them no weapons to use against you. If there is nothing to fear, there can be no terror and no terrorist.
We are not fighting terror, though. Not really. What we are really fighting are ideas. The idea that one religion is better than others and people should die for their beliefs. The idea that men are better than women. The idea that the West doesn’t care and is, in fact, out to get you. The idea that, despite all being human beings, that we are someone different.
So how do you fight an idea? You can not stab ideas. You can not shoot them, bomb them or nuke them from orbit. No there is only one way to fight an idea. With your words and actions. Every day. All the time. To live the truth that puts the lie to the idea.
If one fractured fragment of a religion believes it is better than all the others and the rest should convert or die? Then the rest of the world must band together in acceptance of all faiths. Where they seek to divide, we must include.
If one group believes that men are better than women, the rest of us must show (not just say) that women are every bit as important as men. Insuring that they have equal rights, opportunities and pay. Where they demean, we must accept as equal.
If this pernicious sect draws followers by saying the West doesn’t care and would rather you die, then the West must open its arms and accept the tired, hungry, poor, needy and frightened. Especially those who are at the greatest risk of believing that the West doesn’t care. Where they build a wall, we must open a door.
If one hateful, intolerant, bigoted group believes that humans are not all equal, all the same no matter their skin color, religious affiliation, sexual preference, or anything else, then the rest of the world must come together to show, through willful action, that we are all one. That we accept all humanity as our equals, with equal freedom to make their own choices with their own lives, good or bad, because free will and intelligence is what makes us human.