CTP #034 - Shortcast (On the Shooting in Christchurch, my Hometown)
This is a shortcast on overcoming fear in the face of extreme violent attacks. I grew up in Canterbury so this one truly shocked me. I don’t want the fear to spread, so I wrote these words which I have read aloud in this episode.
Get the episode here or search cosmic tortoise on all platforms.
The attack on March 15 was explicitly designed to spread fear and to divide us. Fear spreads like a disease. I won’t let it take me.
Many of us were afraid during the earthquakes. Not knowing when another might hit. Whether our loved ones were okay. But we learned in Christchurch, that constant fear is no way to live. We learned to rebuild and continue with our lives despite the danger. It hasn’t been easy and it’s still an ongoing process but many of us have again found joy and peace in our lives. And many others do the same, in troubled areas around the world.
Terrorism is nothing new. Incidents have occurred globally for over a century. It has undoubtedly increased in the past decade. But let’s put things into perspective.
~ 55 million people die each year worldwide. In recent years ~ 35 000 have died yearly due to terrorism. This puts death by terrorism at roughly 0.06% of all deaths yearly. Not even 0.1 percent.
For comparison, the top 10 causes of death according to the WHO are (mostly preventable) diseases such as heart disease and stroke (15.2 million deaths in 2016) . The other main cause of death is road injury, with 1.4 million dying on the road in 2016. Combined, this is 54% of deaths.
Let that sink in for a moment.
If you are really concerned about dying early, eat real food, exercise properly and pay serious attention when you’re driving. Especially in regards to your phone. The life of an 8 year old biking home from school is not worth the 5 minutes of time you saved texting your friend whilst driving.
And do not be afraid of terror attacks. I know this is easier said than done. But it can be done. It does us no use to be anxious about earthquakes, terror attacks or anything else. Obviously this is not a call to ignore risky situations. Lot’s of risk can minimised. But not all of it can. And if something happens, we will respond to it the moment it happens. No amount of worrying will change this. We learnt this with the earthquakes. We can do it again.
I will continue with my life and will not change my behaviour. I will go to the city as usual and make use of the airport. I will not allow the actions of a deranged extremist to cause me to be afraid.
This post is not intended to invalidate feelings. Especially in regards to sadness. I feel immense sadness for the Muslim members of our community who have endured something I cannot begin to imagine. I feel immense sadness and love for Christchurch and New Zealand as a whole. This is devastating for us. As others have mentioned, these acts are not a part of our culture and we condemn them.
Support each other. Grieve with our Muslim brothers and sisters and show them kindness. Do not be pulled to the extremes of either side which speak in hate and fear.
Express love. Do not let this divide us. Do not be afraid.