Residents say terrorism here to stay; vow to live life

Michael Barr believes terrorism in the United States and abroad is here to stay.

Attempts to stop militants or radicals from disrupting everyday life only will make terrorists more vigilant. He cites a fracture between two cultures that he feels will be “long and demanding.”

Barr, an aviation and aircraft safety expert in California, is among a dozen people interviewed this week after a high-profile terrorist attack in Nice, France who said terrorism here and abroad is a part of everyday life now. Others responded to attacks of the last year including those domestic incidents in Orlando and San Bernardino, plus foreign attacks in Paris and Brussels, and said they see no end in sight.

“Religious and political leaders will need to take a more active participation in a solution or the fight will go on for a very long time,” Barr, a senior instructor at the University of Southern California, said by email.

“To stop living a normal life in constant fear is a waste of precious life,” Barr continued.

In the past 12 months, more than 500 Europeans have been killed by acts of terrorism in Nice, Paris, Brussels and Turkey, according to a Teen Observer analysis. That’s on the minds of American University students and graduates getting ready to travel abroad this summer and fall.

Alex Mazzarisi, 22, an American University graduate, is headed in August to Copenhagen, Denmark. Mazzarisi was at the World Trade Center in New York City two days before the 9/11 attacks. She said people should not let fear dictate their lives.

“There is, unfortunately, no way to prevent being in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Mazzarisi said.

John Horgan, a professor of Global Studies and Psychology at Georgia State University, said terrorism will continue because it’s an effective short-term strategy.  He said further policymakers here and abroad may never be able to eliminate terrorism.

“We need to get better at devising smarter strategies to combat terrorism,” Horgan said in an email.

“If our response is based on fear, or is devised in the immediate aftermath of tragedy like we saw in Nice, then we will lose,” Horgan continued.

Mary Rutenbeck, 20, a Wake Forest University student working in Washington, D.C. this summer, will spend Fall studying abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark. She believes Americans aren’t worse off than 20 years ago, but said that “the media makes people more aware” of incidents abroad. She hopes 20 years from now, society will be better off.

Mary Rutenbeck (right), 20, a Wake Forest University student working at American University this summer will study abroad this fall. Photo credit Alex Mazzarisi.

Mary Rutenbeck, 20, a Wake Forest University student working at American University this summer, will study abroad this fall. Photo credit Alex Mazzarisi.

Kenneth Cardwell, who works at a Tenleytown hardware store, believes politicians aren’t doing enough to stop terrorism. He says leaders are “telling people what they want to hear.”

Eric Duvall believes terrorism and political responses to it don’t matter. Instead, he said it’s beyond human control. He doesn’t see an end to the attacks around the globe because “there is nothing man can do to correct the problems down here.”

Kristen Luft, 19, a summer teaching assistant at American University, plans to study abroad in Paris next year and admits there is a higher risk of terrorism there. But, it’s not stopping her.

“It is built on ideas,” Luft said of terrorism. “It’s harder to kill off ideas.”