20 Aug 2014
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'Mama, What's a Terrorist?'

Will we be okay? Will al-Qaeda dissipate now that its leader is gone or will another rise to the occasion?

'Mama, What's a Terrorist?'

In the midst of watching one of the many commentaries regarding the recent killing of America's Most Wanted terrorist, Osama Bin Laden, I heard my daughter ask this question: "Mama, what's a terrorist?"

She's five.

At that moment, I wondered if for the rest of her life she will be hearing this word uttered on the news and when she rides on public transportation or a plane. I wondered if this has just become a part of life.

It sure has been for the past nine and a half years. Bin Laden has likely been one of, if not the most, hunted person on the planet. Many people have felt a sense of justice, relief and the closing of a terrible chapter in American history over his death. But have we really made the world a safer place or succeeded in doing just the opposite?

I fear for the future safety of our children. I feel sorry for them that they won't have the same arrogance, sense of safety, and a country free of color-coded terrorist threat levels that we had growing up. I hope that they won't endure an attack of epic proportions that took our nation's innocence. 

Will we be okay? Will they be okay? Will al-Qaeda dissipate now that its leader is gone or will another rise to the occasion?

This simple question from the mouth of such a small, innocent person has evoked so much emotion from me and for a few minutes I wonder what it would be like to never have heard that word before. I know I have to answer her, so for now I tell her, "A terrorist is a person who believes bad things are right to do."

I guess she will have the rest of her life to learn more about that word.

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