New ISIS Video Shows Golden Gate Bridge, Las Vegas Strip
There was a time – not that long ago – when a video like this would have been front page news in every city in America. A known group of Islamic radicals praising mass murderers, calling on fellow believers to carry out atrocities on innocent civilians, and pointing out U.S. landmarks with obvious hints as to what should become of them? We would have gaped in horror. We would have demanded to know what our government was doing to protect us from this looming threat.
Unfortunately, times have changed, and they have changed quickly. The first time your next-door neighbor gardens in his underwear, you can’t believe what you’re seeing. After he does it every day for a year, though, you don’t even see it anymore. It’s one of the most rock-solid traits of human nature; we can get used to almost anything.
Only two weeks have passed since one of the worst tragedies in American history, and already we’re starting to move on. We’re talking about Brexit and Donald Trump’s poll numbers and Disney alligators. We’ve already internalized the Pulse nightclub attack, filed it away as just another one of those things. By the end of summer, if asked the name of the terrorist who killed 49 people in Orlando, most of us will have to really think about it.
And so, in this environment, the new video from ISIS – which shows shaky footage of the Las Vegas Strip and the Golden Gate bridge while a narrator calls on Muslims to kill Christians with “sniper rifles and silencers” – will go all but unnoticed. This is a group that fills social media with more than 50,000 posts a day. A group that has already stunned us with images of executions that hearken back to medieval times. A group that has already killed scores of Christians, Muslims, and others who are just trying to live their lives in peace. There’s only so much you can take without turning into a terror-filled obsessive.
Since 9/11, the conventional wisdom has gone something like this: If we change the way we live our lives out of fear, the terrorists “win.”
Well, maybe it’s not that simple.
Maybe the terrorists also “win” when we grow so accustomed to horrific videos and earthshaking tragedies that we treat them as just another part of life. We turn a stern eye at our government for a couple of days, we grieve for the victims, and then we shrug and get on with our lives.
President Obama has his reasons for not confronting ISIS with the full force of the U.S. military, but the biggest of them isn’t his liberal philosophy or his latent sympathies for Islam – the biggest reason is that there’s simply not much political pressure being put on him by the American people.
And so we’re left with two choices. One, we turn up that pressure and we keep it on, even when there hasn’t been a terrorist attack in months. Or two, we wait until ISIS pulls off something so cataclysmic that we are awakened from our collective slumber in a more permanent way.
Sadly, it seems we’ve already made the wrong choice.