Fear is a powerful motivator.
Often it is only considered in an immediate situation – ‘fight or flight’ – but it’s the prolonged and lasting fear that can affect long-term responses and initiate lasting change.
On an individual level, we have people buying and carrying ‘panic alarms’ in response to an assault in the local area; we have a heightened awareness of ‘strangers’ in response to the abduction of a child; people install security systems in their homes in response to a home-invasion…and so on.
Then there are the wider responses, the community responses – some of which are extensions to the ones outlined above. These responses sometimes have an extra ‘energy source’: outrage. The combination of fear and outrage is powerful on an emotional level, but it needs to be directed in a useful way, otherwise it becomes overwhelming, emotionally draining and oppressive and, eventually, impotent.
The danger is the impotency – when people strive to change things for the better and it all comes tumbling down when ‘the system’ blocks them. Some, like Susana Trimarco (who has survived two murder attempts, her house being burnt down, and countless death threats over the last 10 years as she tried to find her missing daughter) have this ‘well of determination’, the drive to keep going. An amazing woman whose efforts have led to the rescue of dozens of women who were being sexually exploited, and hundreds more after establishing her foundation…but received a blow recently when the judges in a recent hearing said that ‘we could not establish what really happened…but it was not a case of people trafficking’.
In another part of the world, known for the deaths of people through bombs and shootings on an almost daily basis, at least 9 girls were killed while collecting firewood. A landmine went off. Although organisations such as The Halo Trust and MAG are hard at work, there is still so much more to do. According to researchers at Manchester University, ‘there are at least 110 million active landmines in place across the world’ and ‘it is estimated it would take $30bn (£19bn) and more than 1,000 years to clear them using current technologies’. Despite the dangers and oppression where they lived, those girls were determined to work for the general betterment of all in their region; they had dreams and aspirations – may their determination inspire others and spark new dreams.
Across the border we have another country known for its numerous car bombings and suicide bombings, with a recent bombing killing at least 17 and injuring at least 70. The people there are also determined to make things better…they’re just trying to figure out how.
In the US, now, after repeatedly being put on the backburner, the bid to bring in stronger gun control has a renewed momentum. After the tragedy on Friday, and the theft of the lives of 20 children and 6 adults, people are once more seeking change.
And, once more, being countered.
I hope the fear and outrage can be married with (dogged) determination and progress is made in making things safer (in the US) overall – whether it be compulsory psych analysis, increase in waiting time, registration and tracking…
I hope the determination and efforts of countless others across the world striving to bring about a safer world continues, and continues to succeed...even if it's one small unnoticed step at a time...