BANGOR – People around the world are mourning the victims of Thursday’s terrorist attack in Barcelona. Just this year, we’ve seen terrorist attacks in places like Paris, England and now Spain, all of which are major tourist destinations. Are these attacks affecting the lives and thinking of people here in Maine?
It seems when you turn on your TV, it’s one terrorist attack after another. Countries once known for their beauty and attractions are now seen as dangerous. Should the constant reports of attacks in these beloved countries stop people from traveling. Are they truly dangerous?
“If you practice good anti-criminal activity, you’d be practicing good anti-terrorist activity,” said John Michaud, M.A., M.A., director and assistant professor at Husson University.
Officials say it’s important to always be cautious and be aware of your surroundings, but because people are constantly exposed to disasters regularly, are we becoming desensitized to everything?
“The true victims of any terrorist incident, whether Barcelona or anywhere else aren’t the people who actually died,” said Michaud, “They are the victims of a crime. But the true victims of terrorism are the broader audience watching.”
While some would argue that media and entertainment are factors in making people indifferent, others would say Americans have always been this way.
“We’re almost used to it,” said Michaud, “We grew up watching Vietnam on television, that’s what you ate dinner watching.”
According to Michaud, it doesn’t make us bad for being a desensitized society. He says Americans have been less impacted by violence than people from other countries.
“The closer to home, the more impactful it feels for you,” said Dr. Anthony T. Ng, MD, DFAPA, the chief medical officer at Acadia Hospital, “If you look at something that happened halfway around the world, you feel badly but you can’t make that connection because you can’t associate yourself with that situation.”
With news now carried in almost everyone’s pocket, now would the perfect opportunity to discuss with loved ones what you saw and how it made you feel.
“I think this is an important time – use this opportunity when we can to learn from it,” said Ng, “Rather than just say, we had a bad event, mourn it and then move on.”