One can only imagine how that “coincidence” has affected the support and membership of those worthwhile ISIS groups in this country.
But the main reason I went searching for some information about THAT particular ISIS group was to see if I could find what the requirements are for joining up. Apparently, if you are dissatisfied with the way things are, especially politically, and feel the need for some hardcore answers that state what is right and what is wrong — no gray areas, no hedging, no room for disagreement — and are willing to share your feelings and beliefs with others and do what you are told, regardless of what that is, including beheading those you are told to behead, and you can get someone already in the group to vouch for your new or at least now openly-admitted beliefs, you may be a candidate to go over to their side to become a member of ISIS.
When we were children, there was always someone in our group of acquaintances that our parents or teachers (or others) would refer to as a “bad influence” on us. We were probably told not to play with that person; later on, perhaps we were told to not hang around with that kind of person; and obviously, people would be very, very concerned if we hooked up with such a person in a relationship, multiplying the amount of time and the degree to which that “bad
influence” could and would influence us to do things that we otherwise would not have done.
Now, fast forward to our being “all grown up.” You’d think that somewhere along the way we would have taken some of that good advice and such useful admonitions about watching out for those who could be a “bad influence” on us and kept our distance — if not because of our faith in the people who were trying to keep us safe and out of trouble, than perhaps out of our own sense of right and wrong and learning from and through our own experiences, and seeing how the behavior of those who sought to influence us down the wrong path finally caught up with them and took its devastating toll.
But apparently there are many reasons why many growing children and those who’ve recently reached so-called adulthood do not take, have not taken, and refuse to take such “good advice,” or even to learn from their own experiences to not give in to “bad influences,” considering that they may often see — or are told — that the official
adults around them are the ones who are the “bad influence” in their life.
“Rebellion” is nothing new in families. Teenagers do any number of things that might go against their parents’ wishes to show they have a mind of their own. Crazy haircuts or hair colors, or tattoos and piercings of various body parts are all part of that game; but these days, that sort of “rebellion” seems rather tame. Some children — and that can include children both much younger and much older than teenagers, who have never really bonded with their parents in a way that they share mutual love and respect for each other, or who seem to live in a closed-in “private” world of inner angst and pain — may be very ripe for the very words that come from the mouths of the ISIS recruiters.
We live in a country where much of what children do or have access to is forbidden in some other countries. That is both good and not so good in some ways. Children are constantly exposed to violence on TV in even the most “G-rated” movies or shows — to say nothing about the news of the day, if they are in the room when the parents are watching that — and it is all just “normal” and ordinary to see such things.
The games that are created especially for children, even the very young, have some form of violence built into them. No one expects those children to go and do to their playmates what they are doing to the non-human characters within the game — whether hitting an animal over the head with a mallet, or shooting at “target” characters on a
video screen, or gaining points for the most “kills” in some other game — yet the more the children “play” at violence the less distasteful it can become. Yet it is up to the manufacturers of such games — who live in this free country and are free to create them — to think about something beyond the profit made from such games… and it is definitely up to those adults who buy them and encourage their kids to play such games to refrain from helping such purveyors of violence to our children make those big profits and stay in business.
Obviously all children who play games of violence do not grow up to shoot their classmates or behead strangers or former friends at the behest of some new found authority figure in their life. And obviously all rebellious kids do not turn to organizations that are known for their violent, terroristic ways — either because they just want to get back at their parents, or society, or because they suddenly “see the light” and believe that such out and out overt violence is the way to go. It would seem that it’s a situational and opportunistic thing.
Anyone today can go online and find just about anything. Parents are not watching every move their young or older children make; and many young people are not living at home with their parents anyway. The susceptible young person goes online and sees a video; the words seem to strike a note or echo some sentiment that person (or child) has
been feeling; the would-be recruit sees other young people who seem to be very happy with the choice they made to go over to that side, and it never occurs to such would-be recruits (perhaps because of their inexperience and young age) that all the words they are hearing are very highly calculated to reach into their very beings are find those matching notes that will gain that organization another body and soul.
Words alone obviously don’t cut it — either on the side of those wanting to spare their children the misery of all that could go wrong in life by simply telling them what to do or not do, or on the side of those trying to lure others over to their way of thinking by using the same method — since strong minds are not easily swayed, happy minds are not easily swayed, and educated minds are not easily swayed. Most of us learn a lot more by example than words, and by seeing the consequences of what happens to those who choose a path that goes against everything they know and feel to be right (prison, loss of reputation and family, severe injury or death). But we still need to remember that when certain words are spoken to a young person who needs to hear those particular words, it will be the words that lure
him away. No one chooses to go from a happy, fulfilled or promising life to one of misery, emptiness and despair. But words can make the latter seem like the former.
I suppose we now have to start teaching our very, very young children about things that we never even knew existed back in our day of growing up. But it’s all part of life: we have to respond to what actually exists. Otherwise, our ignorance, apathy and/or laziness when it comes to raising our children will create a fertile breeding ground
for those who know how to fill that gap and take our children away.