The ever changing face of fear

Published 5:56 pm Friday, July 15, 2016

A few weeks ago, I was at lunch with a group after church. It was only a week after the shooting at the Orlando nightclub and the images from the news and the story were still very fresh in our minds.

The conversation started to steer that way, but it had nothing to do with gun rights or LGBT rights. The theme was fear.

It has been a bad few months throughout the world, and although none of us sitting there were directly affected, we could feel the shock waves. Media pundits will debate; politicians will point fingers and say they are the only ones that can fix the problems in our country and throughout the world. None of this addresses a very fundamental issue though: FEAR.

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Each group will feel it in different ways. Some groups are targeted more than others, but as we watch the news we can all feel the fear grip our hearts that by being at the wrong place at the wrong time, we won’t be watching the news.

Our image and name will be scrolling across the screen as a victim.

We cannot let fear rule our lives though. The face of it may change, but fear has and always will always exist.

I am 23. I was in fourth grade when the towers fell in New York City. I have grown up with the word terrorist more a part of my life than maybe any generation before. In the past few years with the rise of ISIS and the frequency of attacks that fear has grown.

Now that I am older and I am consuming news I have grown to fear a masked gunman invading my school, office or the movie theater or mall where I am. These are my fears. This is what my generation must overcome every time we step out the door.

We are not the first generation to face the fears of an existential threat to our way of life though. My parents grew up in the Cold War era with nuclear war drills in the classroom. This was their fear. But they overcame it. They grew stronger.

My grandparents were born in the Great Depression and saw WWII and Vietnam. Their fears were great abroad and at home. But they overcame them. They grew stronger and they helped my parent’s generation through.

Yes we have fears. Yes the news has seemed to grow more depressing with each passing week. We cannot let it overcome us though. If you let the fear rule you then those that you fear have won. We must continue to live. We must come together as a society, no matter our group, and heal our wounds and work together to heal and overcome.

In 20 years when I have kids and they are old enough to start to understand the world there will be fear. The face of it will inevitably be different, but we must be able to stand up, stand together and show them how much we went through and how we overcome.

The face of fear will change, but the will to overcome will always prevail.


About Brandon O'Connor


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