Russian Brides Cyber Guide
By Dr. Noel Swanson
Copyright (c) 2004
Were you horrified an appalled by the incredible thuggery of these people?
I am sure you were. So was I. It is, surely, the only sane response if you have any shred of humanity in you.
Did you also cry out for more security measures and stricter controls so that this can never happen again?
OK, hear me out on this because what I am about to say will probably blow your mind. Even so, I think it needs to be said, and spread, before this world becomes so dangerous that we cannot even step outside. What I am about to say will sound crazy, stupid, and just plain wrong - yet I believe it is the only way that we will ever stop these terrorists.
"First" (it wasn't of course, but let's start there) we had 9/11. Then the Bali bombing, then the Spanish Train, and now the Russian School. That there will be a "next" is as certain as the Pope being Catholic. It certainly does seem that the world is becoming increasingly dangerous for ordinary people, like us, trying to live ordinary lives in "peaceful" countries.
This despite the increase in security worldwide. Or maybe I should have said BECAUSE of the increased security worldwide.
You see, if we are going to stop these terrorists, we have to understand why they do what they do. Once we understand that, we can change their behavior.
Now, if you have read my book, the GOOD CHILD Guide (www.good-child-guide.com) you will already know what I am about to say:
People do what they do BECAUSE IT WORKS.
The goal of a terrorist is to create terror - to create widespread panic, to disrupt the economy, to make the lives of his enemies miserable. Why does he want to do that? Because either:
There have already been endless debates about why they hate us so much. But that is completely missing the point, since each terrorist probably has a different reason. The real point is that his goal is to create FEAR and TERROR. In this he is identical to the bully boy in the school playground.
First of all, who does he pick on? The most defenseless, of course. Then, he uses intimidating tactics at unexpected times to make the poor kid's life totally miserable.
Now the key here is: the more that he sees the kid reacting - screaming, trying to fight back, running away, crying, the happier the bully is. His goal is to create terror - so the more terror he sees, the more he knows his tactics are working, and the MORE he will do it.
When we travelled to Panama last month we had to pass through Houston on the way. We had a 1 hour stopover in the USA to change flights. In most other countries, we would have sat in a transit lounge. Not in the US. Instead we had to go through immigration and security, which was so slow that on the way out our baggage did not make it onto the next 'plane, and on the way back we missed our connection entirely. We were not happy. Nor was everyone else in that long queue for literally 2 hours. This was extra security that Bush had put in place in reponse to the Terrorists actions.
What do you think the terrorists thought about that? Just a few, well placed attacks, and they have disrupted the lives of millions of westerners at a cost of millions of dollars. Wow! I think that counts as a victory for the terrorists, don't you? But did it make flying any safer? I very much doubt it.
Let me give you some examples - you are not allowed to take on board a pair of tweezers or scissors, as they might be a dangerous weapon. But you are allowed to take on board a glass bottle of rum. Now which do you think is the more dangerous weapon, a pair a tweezers, or a glass bottle broken over your head???
So, since we are talking about dangerous weapons - what about a shoe lace (garrotte), a pencil (great for stabbing), bare hands (if trained in martial arts). There is always a way around for someone who is determined enough. But even that misses the point. Supposing we strip search every passenger, remove every potentially dangerous item, and then allow only one person to be standing at any one time - will that prevent acts of terrorism?
Of course not!
If airplanes become too difficult to target, they can always target a train instead - or maybe a night club, or a school, or a theatre, or football stadium, or shopping mall, or...
Get it? You cannot have total security everywhere. It is impossible.
Not only that, the more we react to these events, the more we respond with "A War on Terrorism", the more we implement security measures (each one of which is a limit on personal liberty and privacy) the more we ENCOURAGE the terrorists.
We make it worse rather than better.
Like with the bully in the playground the best (but hardest) way to fight back is to DO NOTHING. To not respond or react. To show you don't care. Then, at the same time, if you can, you try to remove the bully, but you do it in a way that results in no glory, bravado, or kudus to the bully.
As I said in my book, the only way you can change people's behavior is to change the set-up so that what they are currently doing no longer works, and so that something else works better.
In the case of terrorists, it is quite clear to any terrorist that, at present, trying to scare people DOES work - and even if you might die in the process, you will achieve great fame and honor among your own people. Those are powerful reasons to keep blowing people up.
On the other hand, if the event was mourned by us, but resulted in no change of policy, no additional security measures, no widespread fear, panic, and disruption, and all that happened was an SAS hitman came and took you out in the middle of the night, there would be a lot less attraction to the whole idea.
20 years ago the "in thing" was to hijack an airplane and make demands. Quite correctly, governments took a strong stand on this - "we don't negotiate with terrorists". Very rarely did the hijackers get their demands met, and usually they ended up dead. Not very good odds. And the result? After a while, hijacking ceased. It didn't work, so they stopped doing it.
So then they thought, "How can we up-the-ante, raise the stakes, so that they HAVE to listen and give in to us?" Today we see the results. And it seems to me that there tactics are working. So, counter-intuitive though it may seem, if we want to decrease instead of increase terrorism, this is what we need to do:
If we did all this, what would happen?
The first thing is that it would get worse. Their goal is to provoke. If we don't respond, then they will try to provoke harder. (Again I talked about this in my book).
If, and only if, we can remain firm then, in time, they would discover that their tactics don't work, and they will come to the negotiating table. It did, finally, happen in Northern Ireland, perhaps it could also happen in Israel, Chechnya, Iran.
My fear is that we will do the opposite - we will spout off "Tough on Terrorists!" while we actually get tough on ordinary citizens. Maybe soon we will have airport-like security at every school, every train, every theatre, every bookstore, every bridge, every tunnel, every bus station, every ... And every terrorist will shout with glee... "Glory to our Cause!"
Is that what we want? I don't.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Dr. Noel Swanson is a Consultant Psychiatrist and author of "The GOOD CHILD Guide" (www.good-child-guide.com) and "7 Steps to Freedom" (www.7stepstofreedom.com). This article may be freely distributed provided this copyright notice remains attached and unchanged (you may add your affiliate codes).
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