After today’s horrifying events at a Berlin Christmas market, as we keep the victims and their families in our prayers, it’s natural for Americans to wonder what is the correct response. Let me share my thoughts.
I believe we owe it to today’s victims to not be terrorized by this event – and to not let our fears get the best of us. Especially given the impact of sensational media coverage and opportunistic fear-mongers, we need to respond intelligently and rationally.
I imagine many Americans will cancel their trips to Berlin (a city of 3.5 million people) or the rest of Europe (a continent of more than 700 million people), because of an event that killed a dozen people. As a result, ironically, they’ll be staying home in a country of 320 million people that loses 30 people every day, on average, in gun homicides.
It is simply not rational for Americans to stop traveling to Europe because of safety fears.
I also want to remind you that there are 1.6 billion Muslims worldwide, making it the planet’s second-largest religion (after Christianity). Some German media are reporting that a refugee has been arrested in connection to this event. In the coming days, you will likely hear sweeping generalizations about people of the Islamic faith. Please remember that judging Islam based on a small minority of Islamic people is like judging Christianity based on Timothy McVeigh and the Ku Klux Klan.
To honor the victims rather than empower the forces of violence, it is important that we do not confuse fear with risk, that we do not overreact, and that we strive to build understanding between people. Keep on travelin’.