Today’s Paris terror attack is part of the new normal plaguing our civilization. It’s designed to sow fear and wipe out our freedoms, especially freedom of the press.
Here’s a portion of Destination Jerusalem, a new book by this reporter to be released later this month. It addresses how these attacks are penetrating our daily lives and what’s the strategy behind these onslaughts.
CHAPTER 11 PREPARING…AND PREPARING THE WAY
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” -Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities
DATELINE: LONDON, May 22, 2014.
Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale ran over British soldier Lee Rigby on Wellington Street in southeast London. In broad daylight, they got out of their car, hacked Rigby to death and dragged his body into the street. One attacker shouted, “You people will never be safe!”1
DATELINE: MOORE, OKLAHOMA, September 26, 2014.
Thirty-year-old Alton Nolen beheaded co-worker Colleen Hufford, a 54-year-old “quick-tosmile” grandmother at Vaughan Foods. CEO Mark Vaughan, an off-duty sheriff’s deputy, averted more deaths when he shot Nolen. Nolen’s postings on Facebook included “Sharia law is coming” and a poster that read “Islam will dominate the world.”2
DATELINE: SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA, November 15, 2014.
Iranian born Man Haron Monis held dozens of hostages captive for 16 hours in a Sydney café. He forced his captives to hold an Islamic flag on the window. The siege shocks the country and one Australian headline shouts “The instant we changed forever.”
Solitary jihadists struck infidels in so-called “lone wolf ” attacks from Oklahoma to England and halfway around the world. ISIS sent out fiendish commands giving detailed instructions on how to attack Westerners: “Rig the roads with explosives for them. Attack their bases. Raid their homes. Cut off their heads. Do not let them feel secure. Hunt them wherever they may be. Turn their worldly life into fear and fire. Remove their families from their homes and thereafter blow up their homes.”4
These assaults involved just a few, but the psychological shock rippled through those nations and around the world. An individual attack can often jar people more than a massive bloodbath. When ISIS marched and then murdered hundreds of Iraqi soldiers in the sands of the Iraqi desert, it jolted the West. But when ISIS beheaded American journalist James Foley, it hit home, shifted the national debate in the US and prodded a reluctant President to war. The motivation sprang from the fact that Foley was a US citizen, but also from the intimate and personal nature of the murder. Beheading seems one of the most gruesome end-of-life experiences; contemplating it, an anathema. Suddenly this abhorrent act became more personal, real. That could be me. That could be my son, my brother, my friend. We grieved with Foley’s parents, John and Diane. The nature of the slaying itself seemed the stuff of horror films, but this was not a movie. It was real. Tragically, the individual beheadings continued…journalist Steven Sotloff…British aid worker David Haines…and so on.
Closer to home and fueled by Islamic State directives, could rogue groups maraud or “lone wolves” attack? Suddenly, ISIS isn’t just “over there” but now “over here.” Maybe next door. People might go to work thinking, Could I be next? What if I go to the mall and something happens? Call it the “new normal” when someone doesn’t “go postal” but “goes ISIS.”
Today’s ubiquitous streams of communication-Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the 24/7 news cycle-amplify these attacks. Everybody knows. For ISIS, it’s all part of their strategy. To intimidate, sow fear and bully a people…or a nation. It’s psychological and spiritual warfare. It’s by design. It’s terror…it’s fear…on the loose. As this Arab folk tale tells us, it can be deadly: “A wise old man, traveling on a desert road to Baghdad, met the figure of Pestilence hurrying ahead of him. ‘Why are you in such a haste to reach Baghdad?’ asked the old man. ‘I am due to take 5,000 lives in the city,’ Pestilence replied, before it went away. “Later, on the return journey, they met again. ‘You lied to me,’ said the old man reproachfully. ‘You said you would take 5,000 lives, but you took away 10,000 instead.’ “‘I did not do it!’ Pestilence swore. ‘I took 5,000 and not one more; Fear killed the rest.'”5