Saturday, April 22, 2017

Are Europeans getting used to terror attacks?

While terrorists continue their attacks in various European cities, ordinary people appear less and less fazed by the terror threat. Societies now have the chance to build up resilience to danger, experts told DW.

The recent terror strikes in London, Stockholm, Dortmund, and Paris were relatively low on casualties compared to similar attacks in 2015 and 2016. At the same time, everyday life seemed to resume much faster after each successive attack. Are Europeans truly learning to keep their cool in the face of terror?
"Human beings are pretty good at habituating to anything," Dr. Anne Speckhard, Director of the International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism, told DW.

"People are getting used to monthly attacks in random cities around the world and just thank their stars that it wasn't them that was randomly targeted," she added. "Terrorists who run successful terror campaigns need to give the feeling that anyone, anywhere, at any time can be attacked. These attacks have been too sporadic, with too much time in between to create that sense and spread terror."

Instead, living through a terror strike can give people valuable experience to make them more resilient,more capable of "bouncing back" after a crisis, says Dr. Doron Pely from the University of South California.
"The Europeans are beginning to accumulate an unfortunate, but reasonably useful memory of dealing with situations like this," he told DW. "They know that life continues after the trauma, they have an experience of bouncing back. They actually see the Champs Elysees going back to what it was, they see people riding trains very soon after a terror attack, they see open air markets going back to operation, and that is a memory that is extremely valuable for a community."........

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