Maybe I’m a few days late on this. Or maybe since the dust has settled, it’s a good time to for people to reflect. Either way, I’m disappointed with a significant portion of the “liberty movement.” The recent terrorist attacks in Paris by ISIS showed me just how many libertarians out there lack any sort of empathy.
The events were an absolute tragedy perpetrated by absolutely evil people. Innocent people, who went out that day expecting to live their lives normally, were slaughtered. Even if a Parisian didn’t know anyone who was killed in the attacks or didn’t see any of it, they still have to live with the fear it happening again. There is a tremendous amount of stress and anxiety that comes with a traumatic experience. It often takes a long time to overcome the fear triggered by everyday occurrences. I know this because I have gone through it.
So while literally just about the entire world got together and expressed their sorrow and offered their support to the people of France, the libertarians had to be the ones who took to social media and took potshots not only at those showing support but also at the grieving French people. We all have our opinions on what causes terrorist attacks like this and how they could be prevented, but do we really need to use a tragedy such as this to immediately make an ideological point?
I found out about the attacks through libertarian channels and literally the first comment I saw about it was, “False flag.” Do I need to explain how callous and ridiculous that is?
Some decided to lecture their Facebook feeds about how it was curious that people only seem to care when westerners are attacked. I guess if you don’t post pictures of the children murdered in Palestine, any display of emotion is contrived. Speaking of Facebook, some could not resist commenting on the French flag profile pictures people displayed. “Don’t you know government is the problem?”
But maybe worst of all were the people who saw the attacks as the perfect opportunity to say: “How is that French gun control working out for you?” It’s almost as if they took pleasure out of saying that.
I am not suggesting that we always censor ourselves in case we might offend someone. I’m not talking about the spoiled college feminist who complains about the angle in which men spread their legs while sitting down. I’m talking about how to treat people who are legitimately mourning a tragedy and doing whatever they can to show support. On top of that, you never know who may be overhearing you talk or reading your Facebook feed. I have a friend who has friends in Paris. Knowing that she was probably feeling helpless and scared out of her mind that one of her friends could be a victim was more than enough for me to keep my mouth shut about any “points” I felt I needed to make to the echo chamber. I don’t think that it’s worth hurting a friend—or even a stranger—to make a snide comment about gun control minutes after learning about the attacks to validate my views.
Of course not all libertarians acted so poorly. Most showed sorrow and concern for the French people. Some even found ways to gracefully make points about the sources of the problems. But I was appalled at how some could look at people feeling true emotional pain and just lack any human compassion. We should be the ones setting good examples.