Fear, Terror and a Bloke With a Pie


Its in the air… everywhere…

And its destructive. Evil even. Seriously…

Last night on our local community Facebook site a woman posted a disturbing message about how the previous evening she had felt like someone was watching her in her home and how she didn’t sleep well. The next day at Woolies a man walked close to her and appeared to be watching her and her children as well. He followed her out to the bakery and stood behind her… At that moment she had an apparition of a dead relative walk down the mall towards her and she took this as a warning that she was in danger from this man…The man bought a pie sat down and ate it, but she ‘knew’ he was watching her…

You don’t come across too many posts quite so paranoid, neurotic and nonsensical as that one, but what was even more disturbing were the responses that followed.

‘We’re not safe anywhere these days…’

‘Oh dear Hun so glad you’re safe…’

‘Take care – our little community isn’t what it used it to be’

‘Report it to the police’

My favourite was from the bloke who commented: ‘Maybe the bloke was doing his grocery shopping, was hungry and felt like a pie.’

Because that is in all likelihood the reality of the situation. A bloke walked around the supermarket on the same day as you, happened to leave at the same time and stood in line at the bakery. That you see his behaviour as suspicious likely communicates much more about you than about him. That you ‘felt’ someone watching you the previous evening and were ‘warned’ by a dead relative doesn’t add to the credibility of your story.

So now its not just the guy giving your kids a push on the swings that we need to be concerned about, but its anyone who happens to be near you on a day when your paranoia is in overdrive?

But this is what we can expect while our media continues to narrate world events in the way it does. Fear and depravity is more likely to draw more viewers than good news and the ‘national security’ story is yet to reach a climax.  Its a great story for drawing a crowd, but the escalation in the current ‘terror alert’ is inevitably going to spin off in all sorts of fear around the place.

When we tell a story of fear we will create a sense of fear. When we tell many stories of fear we can expect to create a culture of fear. So last night’s Facebook post is an expected outcome in this world we now live.

As I listen to the news and the stories that get told I find myself concerned at two levels. The first is for what is happening in the world as Muslim extremists terrorise innocent people. This is a real concern and I fully understand the anger this generates. It is barbaric and nonsensical and needs opposing.

The second is for the authenticity and tone of what is reported. Propaganda is endemic when nations are at war because we need to demonise the enemy (otherwise its harder to kill them). But the narrative around terror seems to be escalating in tone and the language is becoming less peace-focused and much more of the view that we have no alternative, but to fight.

The ‘war on terror’ motif is loud and clear and the need to ‘be vigilant’ is equally loud and clear. But what’s ironic is that if anything were going to spawn even more terrorists then its the kind of rhetoric being generated.

Its also the way to spread fear and legitimise our own innate prejudices.

So don’t be surprised if someone in the shops happens to grab their children, turn and run from you next time you stop and thoughtfully ponder which brand of toothpaste to buy. That moment of contemplation could be the difference between life and death for those standing nearby.

2 thoughts on “Fear, Terror and a Bloke With a Pie

  1. Hi mate, I think it is important to get one thing straight first. We “Christian countries” are the terrorists. Does anyone remember how we killed over 500,000 children during the sanctions on Iraq? Or how we invaded several countries, without international law supporting us, with guns and planes and tanks, and killed over a hundred thousand civillians? Probably not. For along with being Christian, we are also blessed with very short, selective memories, aided and guided by the benevolence of Murdoch-Packer media. In real life, we have bombed and slaughtered a lot of people, and believe it or not, some of their relatives that saw them die may just be a bit keen to get their own back, or try and form a power-base and unite lands under whatever method they can. I despise the cruelty and the warped perspective of Islam that drives IS, but I can understand what has created it: Pain and hate, caused in turn by years of deliberate destabilisation, short-sighted policy, greed for oil and one-eyed policy on Gaza: I have lived in Saudi for 5 years now, and have a lot of mates from just about every place that is getting hell. These are human beings paying the price for sanctimonious self righteous self defeating violent foreign policy of “Christian” nations. People in Oz I have talked to, seem to think we can declare war on another country, and go in and completely destabilise it and destroy people’s way of life, without any consequences. Seriously? The fact that it has only been one guy with a knife in OZ in “retaliation” so far is a bloody miracle. You talk about the irrational fear of people in the supermarket. This is an idle self-thrill that a bored and lazy populace can titilate themselves with. And our media will supply these cheap thrills in growing volume Beats the hell out of the “real thrill” of actually being afraid for your life with good reason. It gets very real very fast when there are planes in the air with bombs on them, flying over your house…. ISIS is the consequence of previous policy, and our response to ISIS will dictate the severity future crises that could, with poor judgement, cripple us economically, sociologically, and psychologically. It infuriates me that Aussies think they will be made safer by killing people in other lands. One guy with a knife in Oz, warrants troops and planes deployed in Syria in response. Not to mention ASIO just got powers to monitor the whole web overnight, with little oversight. Imagine an Aussie moron who tried stabbing an indonesian in Jakarta, and the Indonesian response was to villify “christian Australians” and invade Australia. And occupy us. And take out our government and instal their own. Imagine “peace keepers” in Subiaco, taking people away at night, launching airstrikes against suspected “insurgents” in Karrinyup shopping centre, setting up huge military bases at Fremantle and Hillarys. Imagine your friends getting blown to bits. I think a lot of self respecting aussies would join the “insurgents” and fight back. We have chosen this, we have done this, and to send more violence in, is like kicking a hornet’s nest to protect against bees, from the bee nest we kicked over last time. We need PEACE, and that means giving the peace to our brother across the sea. And it was not the smart guy in the bible story, who asked Jesus who his brother was…. Peace to everyone now. Sorry Hamo, just maybe someone will have a think about it…

  2. Hi Georg

    You make a lot of points that I agree with. Western barbarism is no more acceptable than middle eastern barbarism.

    And while my perspective is limited I have gone thru some of the exercise you describe to imagine life from their perspective.

    I’m not sure if this is a rant at me or just you voicing your frustration.?

    My point in the post was less about attributing blame though and more about the insidious nature of fear and how it is used to political gain.

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