Of missiles and sharks.

14 Jul

A few words on missiles, as I’ve noticed people just love to talk about them like it’s the end of the world. I wish they were that interesting. The goal of this post is mainly to part the rational from the irrational fear, and relevant missile gossip from drama, because fear helps nobody, solves nothing, and weakens the mind. Fear is what terrorists want to get out of you; choose against rewarding their efforts.

1. I’ve done some research and found that missiles are no bigger a danger to life, than sharks. Sharks and Hamas’ missiles have both approximately killed the same number of people in the past 14 years: 5 per year. This is obviously not counting injuries, and this is obviously still 5 too many. BUT! Consider how many missiles and how many sharks would have been able to kill humans by being unleashed upon them! Compared to that number, an average death count of 5 per year is extremely low.
These numbers are a great reminder that we are still all – including the residents of the south – more likely to die in traffic or slipping in soap water while washing the floors. Household accidents are still a top killer.
Now, nobody is scared of being where there are cars, nobody is afraid of doing household chores, while both are far worse killers than sharks and missiles. So what keeps you from swimming in the Caribbean, and what keeps you from going about your daily life in the south? Feeling impaired by fear doesn’t make the danger go away, or increase. Feelings do not affect fact. If the rabbit hides in its burrow from the fox for too long, it will starve.

2. The sirens are probably a bigger fear factor than the missiles themselves. Research has been done on how certain frequencies and sounds affect humans in terms of fear and unease. Now, I’ve been sleeping through most of audiotechnology during college, BUT! Somehow, every time I hear any air siren, be it memorial or missiles, I fear shivers, tingles, and a weird urge to run, curl up and cry. I feel similarly when exposed to the trial sounds used for that research, and when watching certain movies with “be very afraid now” background music that have also been mentioned by said researches to use the same “scary” frequencies. I would not be the least bit surprised if the sirens were designed to scare us, keep us afraid, and hence, control us and set our priorities for us. Keep in mind that most governments of powerful nations use subtle scare tactics for herding purposes.
I can honestly say that the sound of ambulances, police, alarms, and other sirens doesn’t affect me but these air sirens seem to have a different wave. I am not afraid of missiles; I actually go chasing them with my camera and have never been scared of physical danger, but the sirens affect me physically. Pay close attention, maybe you can see what I mean. Maybe your fear is generated by the sirens, not the missiles. Who knows, maybe if they played “For Elise” instead of “WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEOOOOOOOOOOOOOO” every time a missile drops, there’d be less fear. Sound affects our emotions.

3. Terror(ism) can’t be terror if it strikes no terror in the hearts of its targets. Hence, Hamas wins by simply scaring people underground and people lamenting all over social media, is exactly what keeps them going. Every scared Israeli is a victory to Hamas. If there is no fear, it is not terror but merely another pathetic violent crime of no consequence other than what a random car accident could have done – property damage yes, injury perhaps, in rare cases death, all horrible, but of no social impact unless it spreads fear among the witnesses/survivors. You go about your daily life unafraid = Hamas loses. I know it’s easier said than done to not be afraid of missiles but please refer to point 1 and the sharks and the statistics. If you will go for a swim in shark habitat, why won’t you go for a stroll in Ashkelon?
Terrorists are like bullies in so many obvious ways. First of all, their existence is worthless. Second – bullies and terrorists act and thrive on the same desire: to see their victim bent and wimpering. Do not do that. Do not do them this favor. Do not give them this victory. It has been observed in bullies that they get frustrated and let off at some point if the victim retains a straight posture and a confident face instead of begging for mercy. Obviously, first they will try harder, but when that doesn’t break the victim, they are confronted with nothing but their own inferiority and worthlessness because instead of absorbing it, the victim throws it back at them. If they can’t get a raise out of you, they lose.

4. “But property damage”. Yes, property damage sucks. But what’s property damage if the same missile could have injured or killed someone? Are you really going to complain about a totalled car or a hole in the wall if those things stood between the missile and you having an arm – or worse – torn off? Let’s say your neighbor’s Rottweiler breaks out of its yard, runs towards you, but runs into your gate first and while it leaves the gate shattered, the wood also tore its carotid and well, the dog drops before it gets to you. Are you going to mourn the gate or feel retroactively more scared of the dog for having wrecked the gate? Harm averted, moving on!
And does it matter whether a missile destroys your car or a drunk driver does? Why is one thought scarier than the other, while the likelihood of either thing happening, is reversed? Hey, missile launchers get killed, drunk drivers on the other hand may always come back to do more damage.

5. “Only 15 seconds!”. Yes that’s not a lot of time, especially if you’re slowed down by physical factors, children, or other. But consider again the likelihood of being in actual danger if not finding shelter in time. Even when I was in Eshkol, near the Erez crossing, during Pillar of Defense, and rockets came down every other minute, I was not worried. I may only have had 15 seconds, and being fat and bad on my feet didn’t help. But meh. I knew that even if I didn’t make it to shelter in time, I was more likely to die tripping and breaking my neck in a panicked run, than I was to be hit by a projectile that puts the “miss” in “missile”. The fear engendered by the time limit exposes you to all kinds of dangers by letting fear get a grip on you. “OMG OMG OMG I’m not gonna make it” and BOOM you ran into a vehicle. I always lose in video games once I panic or pay too close attention to the count down instead of focusing on the fight.

6. The dangers of fear and panic. In my opinion, the real danger isn’t in the miss-ile itself because as discussed, what’s the chances of these things actually hitting you? You could probably live through planking on Ashkelon beach for hours on end.
The real danger, I think, is panic. You hear the siren, so your brain switches off completely other than your instinct to run for shelter. The more scared you are, the worse. Remember the Lion King? Mufasa wasn’t physically killed by Scar or any deliberately inflicted bodily harm. He was killed because those wildebeest were blind with panic, and he was dumb with worry for his son. Had the same herd of wildebeest not been so blindly scared of 3 little hyenas that could have easily been trampled or otherwise neutralized, nobody would have died that day.
So you hear the siren, you drop everything you’re doing. Including that hot coffee. You burn yourself and flinch with pain, slipping. You hit your head in the corner of the couch table. Or you don’t and you make it into the stair well, and why, they still haven’t fixed that shaky railing! It bends under your weight, you trip, fall down the stairs. Oh, the shelter is on the other side of the road. Run. Just look straight ahead and run. And miss that car coming from your left.

7. And finally, obsessing doesn’t help and doesn’t change reality. It’s getting really tiresome and distasteful to see posts exploiting the situation for added interestingness or drama, like this:
“In spite of the missiles, tonight’s class will resume”
“While there are currently more important matters, where can I buy white beans?”
“Far away from the missiles, this amaaaaaaaaazingly average apartment is for sale!”
“I know my problems shrink in light of the situation, but I have been treated badly by HOT”
Don’t make this about you. It is not. It also is not about your business, your spa, your resort, your apartment for rent, your yoga classes, or your poor customer service experiences. Unless the missiles are relevant to the issue you’re addressing, what are they doing in there and how are they about you or your issue? It doesn’t make you or your encounters more interesting, it doesn’t add drama or depth to your laundry services. If your issue is not actually affected by or related to missile rains, the latter are irrelevant.
Stop the obsession and this misuse of violence and war. Missiles are hostile projectiles dropped on us by Hamas and potentially dangerous to people, animals, and objects. That is all. They have no business being mentioned in your complaints about Bezeq, they have no business spicing up your real estate ad, and they have no business making you sound all humble by reminding everyone that you realize that they are worse than the neighbor’s dog relieving himself on your doormat. It’s distasteful. Does anyone rationalize their issues with world hunger, Aids, Syria, or Trayvon Martin? No, because one has nothing to do with the other and it’s profoundly offensive to those actually affected by the issue, which are people living in fear on the receiving end, and on the dealing end, dying by the dozens from retaliatory strikes. Stop being fake-dramatic by sprinkling missile mentions on your everyday posts. People are dying. Their fear is not a curling iron for your boring droopy hair.

Hope that helps. If not, meh.

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