I live in a constant state of fear. That’s what it means to live with anxiety. Fight or flight kicks in at strange moments and suddenly your life is a terror-filled ride. So I know what it means to live with heart-stopping fear. No, I don’t have guns pointed at me nor am I in danger of being stoned to death if I don’t wear a cloth cage constantly. However, I will say this; at its core, fear is the same everywhere no matter the cause.

People believe that the opposite of fear is security. That if they just surround themselves with enough things or have everyone living lives they can understand or if they have enough guns, bombs or whatever, then life will be safe and the fear will go away. It doesn’t work that way.

The problem with terrorists is they simply don’t feel the fear they use everyday. They’re so steeped in the fear that they become immune to it. They’re surrounded by people who are also immune to fear. This lack of feeling is so ingrained in them that not even death holds anything over them. Unlike most people, terrorists welcome death, believing that if they die they go to heaven a hero.

It’s beyond silly to argue to a terrorist this won’t happen. That’s the power of faith. There are people in the United States who believe if they dance with venomous snakes it will prove what good Christians they are. Faith makes people believe the impossible is real and no amount of arguing will change it.

So what happens when a bullet kills a terrorist? The terrorist dies and five more stand in line to take his place. Meanwhile, the innocents they hold hostage see the violence and blood and have to live with it. Children grow up thinking death is normal and killing is a way of life. They see their world destroyed and know nothing else. Another terrorist is born from the ashes of the old one.

Speaking from experience, security is not the way to banish fear. I know it sounds silly but it’s true. There is only one way to really combat fear and it doesn’t involve things or a way of thinking or bullets. Logic. Fear cannot stand in the light of logic. Fear feeds on emotions and the inability to think. I know. Logic, though, sheds light in the dark places. It gives power to those who are powerless in the face of fear.

Malala Yousafzai knew this instinctively before the bullet left the terrorist’s gun. Further, she knew that violence would never end the cycle. If anyone in this world has a reason to hate terrorists and want revenge it is her. Yet, she has maintained that the only way to stop terrorism is through education. Education gives citizens the ability to fight terrorism at its heart.

I find it amusing that governments would spend so much money on bullets and bombs when one teenage girl is able to do more to stop terrorism than anyone else. Don’t get me wrong. Soldiers do a very difficult job in very difficult circumstances and need our support. However, let’s give them real support and not just salute a flag whenever they walk by. Support the citizens of these war torn countries to enable them to end terrorism. Give them the tools to make their lives better and repair their countries. Perhaps when we do this we can bring our soldiers home.

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