The truth about terrorism is that you are far more likely to get hit by lightning than to die in a terrorist incident. And yet it frightens us. Its unpredictable nature and devastating results do exactly what its name suggests – terrorize. The world’s latest terror threat comes from ISIS, and it is the most significant terrorist threat in years. Its brutality, apocalyptic views, and use of social media are a threat to civilization.
Well there are things you — an average citizen — can do to not only prevent, but defeat the terrorists of the Islamic State (New name for ISIS). Yes, it is true. You can actually take action to help degrade and destroy ISIS. So stop calling Hillary and Donald names; stop trashing the government; posting crap online, etc. Chose instead to get into the fight.
Make yourself an annual plan to enact a least a few of the following ideas and lay out a schedule. Yes, we are all busy but there is no reason you cannot join up with a group of like minded friends and collectively tackle a few of these initiatives to stop ISIS. There is still good and evil in the world and ISIS falls into the later category.
Remember, the future of civilization rests with us. Good Luck.
1. Report to web hosting companies any online websites, Facebook and twitter accounts promoting extremist violence. This is particularly good if you read Arabic, but English is good enough if you use Google Translate.
2. Contact your Member of Congress. America is a land of activists. Make your voice heard on this issue. Your Congressional representative will respond. This works even better if you approach your local Congressional Office with a group of people.
3. Host a town hall for your political or law enforcement representatives on terrorism and security in your area or State.
4. Start a Blog and write Op Ed articles to report out facts on threats and related policy issues. Do not relay media hype on incidents or threats. You have an obligation to collect and report facts; not worsen the situation with lies and rumors. Just posting pictures to your friends of Facebook doesn’t do much good for society. Communication of accurate information is important and this issue is full of misinformation.
5. Assist Syrian refugees – help them assimilate into society. I’ve heard Americans rant and rave about one group of another not integrating into society. This is often followed by a series of insults and slurs directed towards that group. These days the target of the week is Muslims. But historically it has also been Cubans, Irish, Italians, Polish, Jews, etc. (We get some of our best jokes that way.)
Now try putting yourself in a refugee’s shoes. You arrive in a new country, your culture and religion is just one of many in a diverse society. And the very same assholes that are screaming at you to integrate are calling you a terrorist and demeaning your culture and religion. Does that seem like a good recipe for an integrated and harmonious society? Well, probably not. Sounds like something from the Game of Thrones or Salem which hunts. Okay, so hopefully you get the point. Integration means willingness and acceptance. It doesn’t work without both. The best thing American communities can do is to work hard to integrate ethnic communities forming a collective sense of belonging; thereby isolating extremists. The federal government cannot make this happen. It must be done by Americans.
There are numerous religious and non profit organizations engaged in helping Syrian refugees assimilate into American society. Here is a list. Just call one in your State to see how you can help.
6. Open up your wallet. A few dollars is probably not going to break you, but your donation, along with many others can help organizations countering ISIS. A donation to the non profits in bullet 5 will help Syrian refuges assimilate. If you are a little more inclined to kill ISIS then by all means donate to the Sons of Liberty International. They are the first non-profit security contracting firm providing training to populations combating terrorist and insurgent groups. To date, they have trained tens of thousands of fighters going against ISIS.
7. Have a family disaster preparedness plan. This will give you some reassurance you are prepared in the very unlikely event. There are a few basic steps to an Emergency Preparedness Plan including knowing how and where to meet with your family; how to respond to emergencies; identifying responsibilities for family members (and perhaps even community); and have a disaster kit. Start with this FEMA/DHS template.
8. Encourage local area Mosques, scholars, and Islamic organizations to get active in the battle against extremism. Invite them to speak at community forums. Video and place the speeches on Internet. Give them a local and global platform to advance a moderate interpretation of Islam. If thousands of Mosques did this each year the Internet would overflow with the voice of reason and moderation.
9. Encourage your State to implement school based programs to identify radicalization. In Fairfax County, VA, a school must report any threats to teachers or the school to the local police. School policies could be expanded to include apparent violent radicalization.
10. Report suspicious behavior. I’ve seen this sign a hundred times and still don’t know what it means. I figure it means if you see a guy wearing a parka with hard bulges under it, it is 95 degrees out, and he is sweating mumbling to himself “God is great”. Not likely you’re going to see that but get the word from your local police or DHS office and find out exactly what they mean by it. Someone taking pictures of a local power plant with a telephoto lens might be exactly the type of thing DHS and the plant’s security office want to know about. Find out then pass that information — along with contact numbers — to websites, blogs, your community groups, friends, etc.
11. Don’t support organized crime. Do your kids take drugs? Well, I’m here to tell you there is a nexus between drug gangs, illegal weapons sales, and terrorists. And the same smuggling networks used to bring in illegals also bring in would be terrorists. It’s illegal. Don’t support it. Make sure your kid’s school sends out the same message about drugs.
12. Share these ideas with others. This is a battle for the future of civilization. So act locally, but think big picture. If you have a friend on the opposite Coast, send this list to him or her and encourage that person to get engaged. If every community in the US conducted these actions we would all be collectively much safer.
Always open to more ideas. Please comment.