Staff Editorial – 1/30

24-hour news cycle desensitizes this generation’s teens to terrorism


It could have been worse.

The attack on Paris’ satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo caught our attention, but as far as many American teens are concerned — it could have been worse. Due to the magazine’s nature, few are surprised by the violence, even if they don’t condone it.

We have been taught that 9/11 was the worst attack of terrorism on America. It put our country in shambles and is our generation’s first memory. After those horrors, shootings at a Parisian magazine are too far from home to make an impact; it is forgotten beneath a mass of news notifications and Twitter updates.

Our shock after terrorist events has dulled, making us wonder if these acts are terrorism after all. While our hearts pang for those who lost their lives in similar acts — especially Sandy Hook’s innocent children — the fear inspired by 9/11 is no longer matched.

In this sense, perhaps terrorists, despite the increasing frequency of their acts, have not won. Sandy Hook, Columbine, and the recent movie theater shootings were terrible, horrible, but the resulting security measures — bag checks, metal detectors, buzz-in school doors — have become only another mark on a checklist to proceed on our way.

Terrorism, after all, won’t happen here — not in Mason, Ohio, we think. We’ve already forgotten that we received two bomb threats in one week. The first instance had us evacuated outside to shiver and rub our jacket-less arms. Some of us speculated–we wouldn’t have a drill in this weather–but the majority of us disregarded any possible threat, longing only to be back inside where we could regain feeling in our appendages and pretend to know the answer to the last question on our math test.

The second occurrence, however, was brought to the school’s attention via Yik Yak before the day had started, but we were not delayed. The threat wasn’t more worrisome than that last test question; we presumed it fake, and the common reaction was to gripe and gossip rather than cower.

Even the new cyber terrorism doesn’t faze us. The Sony Hack came across as a strip on our smartphone followed by a name, Kim Jong Un, and suddenly, we stopped reading. We knew how the story ended. The White House may initiate a cyber-task force, but to us — it could be worse.

The terror has dimmed, but the threat remains. The symbolic cop at the movie theater. The bag check at museums and sporting events. The 360° scanners at the airport.

We could be next, maybe. But for all we’re concerned–it could be worse.