For most young adults in the U.S., the war on terror has been an ever-present factor of reality. The attack on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001 will never cease to remind citizens of a violent massacre caused by terrorism.
However, discussions on 9/11 have decreased in the news and in classrooms. Because of this, many young adults are unaware of the war, despite its presence throughout the twenty-first century. This security has shifted in recent years as more and more news turns to ISIS threats.
Most recently in New York City on Sept. 17th, a bomb explosion occurred on the corner of 23rd Street and 6th Ave. Ahmad Rahami was under suspicion by the FBI for planning this attack for months because of his change in religious devotion to become involved with ISIS after returning from Afghanistan, where his relatives are from.
Officials confirmed that Rahami was responsible for the bombings that injured 31 innocent pedestrians near the corner of 23rd St. Fortunately, the victims all survived and were released from the hospital the next day.
Later in the evening, several explosive weapons were found a few blocks away that did not go off. A surveillance video showed a man dragging a duffel bag near the site of the explosion and an additional surveillance video showed the same man with the same duffel bag near West 27th St. The video showed two other men removing a white bag from the duffel although they are still unidentified.
Earlier that day, Seaside Park, New Jersey was attacked by a pipe bomb on the route of a charity race. While no one was injured, many officials were concerned as to if this was related with the explosion in NYC.
Rahami was found sleeping near a bar doorway in NJ where investigators identified him as the man in the surveillance video. Owner of the bar, Harinder Bains, said, “I’m just a regular citizen doing what every citizen should do. Cops are the real heros, law enforcement are the real heroes.” When Rahami was woken by the police, he pulled out a hand gun and began running from the police. The chase ended when police shot at him several times and was then sent to the hospital for his injuries.
Rahami was charged with five counts of attempted murder to a law enforcement officer and second-degree unlawful possession of a weapon. He is currently in jail where his bail is set at 5.2 million dollars while further investigation is being searched for more information.
This tragedy follows several other recent U.S. citizen-based terrorist activities including the cities Orlando, San Bernardino, Chattanooga and Boston. With each city, more and more citizens find themselves concerned for the current events. For the good and the bad, the terror reality check is forcing millions of individuals –specifically future leaders, such as young adults –in the U.S. to question where and how aid can be implemented.
This is a war so complex that America’s proclaimed best and brightest view the slightest improvements toward terror-related issues with fear. In this setting, what can the average American do?
While history provides several extraordinary examples of individuals who have succeeded major social change through nonviolent protests, most history classes fail to teach the analysis of the individuals making the same social leaps today. Several individuals are working to reach to the level of peace that Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. dreamt for our world. For example, Malala Yousafza was just a young Pakistani school girl who wanted an education and took a bullet in the head in stance for it. After winning the Noble Peace Prize and writing a novel, “I am Malala,” the teenager still works restlessly for the cause she nearly died for. It is people like Malala who give the individual standing helplessly watching these very acts of terror hope that maybe standing in the right place for the right things could be enough.
However, terrorism affects all, even the future leaders of young adults of America. While the fog of terrorism is beginning to reach places where most Americans have family and friends, it is not yet consuming their back yards. The issue of finding a solution is complex enough, let alone viewing terrorism from across the ocean. Many Americans can only hope. However, what does this say about Americans? Christian or non-Christian? Religious or atheistic? Simply, what does this accepted ignorance say about all Americans? Educating each other on the matter, protesting for rights, aiding Syrian refugees, spreading the word through social media: standing, in any way, could be a step in this war and how hard can standing really be?