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    Monday, March 03, 2008

    The Impact of Terror on American Psyche

    There has been an issue that has been on mind for quite some time and I just keep seeing it everywhere. With that said I felt compelled to write a few words to articulate my thoughts. The issue at hand is the psychological, socio-economic and cultural implications of the effect of terror on our youth's lives.

    A colleague sent this image to me, about a new book called I dont Want to Blow You up. The book is for kids and adults and attempts to counter the terrifying messages transmitted in the name of the “War on Terror.” In an age of yellow, orange, and red terror alerts, it aims to focus attention on different people, colors and cultures who are living harmoniously.

    What got me the most, wasn't the subject but the image of the bandana covering faces. This ideal of "identity" has infiltrated fashion and is now omnipresent in much of american streetwear. Bandanas covering one's face conjures up the image of a bandit during the time of cowboys or more recently, a terrorist. Fashion has embraced the idea of masking one's identity, often in a notorious manner. Being notorious has always been somewhat embraced in america, since the time of gangsters. Streetwear has been built on insider status, a cult of likeminded individuals. Yet there has been a profound change from insider status to total protection of the identity. Streetwear has always been about identity protection, but now that acceptance of violence and mayhem has taken ahold, it is about vigilantism and struggle. Identity is used to keep motives secret.

    Sadly we have been at war for nearly a decade. Today's children are accustomed to violence. The number of US domestic shootings has quintupled in the last decade. Is it because we are at war? we don't know. Is it because of video games? We dont know. Is it because of over-prescriptive doctors who push pills? We don't know. But we do know that violence has become a way of life. Strikingly worse, is how the violence is implemented. We are seeing violence for the purpose to draw attention. Jihad, is termed "holy war" under strict guidelines yet much what has been done in the name of jihad is pure hate and extremism. And the acts committed are done for maxmium exposure. Sadly it seems many of our school shooters commit atrocious acts of violence to draw attention to a cause, whatever it might be. The mindset of violence has changed from shock and horror to a terrible tool of attention.

    While i started this article weeks ago, today was a sad reminder of how relevant my thoughts are. Just today there were shootings in West Palm Beach and Memphis . What does the future hold in store? What will the long-term impact be of the psyche of terror and war on today's and tomorrow's generations?




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