It’s ok to be scared.

Over the last few days, this piece on the Boston Marathon bombings has been making the rounds on social media.

While I agree with some of the sentiments that Schneier expresses, I can’t get behind his basic idea: that we have some sort of collective responsibility not to feel afraid.

As the details about the bombings in Boston unfold, it’d be easy to be scared. It’d be easy to feel powerless and demand that our elected leaders do something — anything — to keep us safe.

It’d be easy, but it’d be wrong.  We need to be angry and empathize with the victims without being scared. Our fears would play right into the perpetrators’ hands — and magnify the power of their victory for whichever goals whatever group behind this, still to be uncovered, has. We don’t have to be scared, and we’re not powerless.

NO. Just no. We don’t “need” to be or feel anything. Everyone reacts differently to trauma, and there’s no right or wrong way.

It’s ok to be scared. It’s ok to be angry, or sad, or numb. It’s ok to be all of those at the same time, or at different times.

It’s ok to feel however you feel.

What matters is how you act. The problem, FDR to the contrary, isn’t fear itself–it’s acting unthinkingly from that fear. It’s using fear as a justification to harm others.

I think that’s what Scheier’s trying to get at: that we shouldn’t let our politicians take away our freedoms in the name of fighting terrorism, and that we should defy the terrorists by continuing to live our lives. That much I can agree with.

But it’s not what he’s saying.

What he’s saying rubs me the wrong way, so badly.

So what I’m saying is this: feel however you feel. Acknowledge and respect those feelings, even if you don’t like them. Even if you wish you felt differently.

Feel how you feel, and then act from whatever strength you can muster–no matter how small.

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