So a few days has passed since the tragic events of last Wednesday 22nd March 2017 where we are led to believe that a man called Khalid Masood drove his car along the pavement of Westminster Bridge then charge the barricade of Westminster palace and jumped out and stabbed a policeman to death. 5 people lost their lives and five families lost a loved one and will be suffering tremendously as a result.
The first question I want to address is how this happens? How does a human being end up at this point where they are willing to go to certain death and take as many people that they’ve never personally met with them? I also want to question people’s gut reaction and how it maybe actually contributing and causing the situation and propelling the cycle. If we really want to stop these things from happening and the misery and suffering they cause we need to break the cycle. As Einstein said “you cannot solve a problem with the same level of consciousness that created it”.
So let’s start with Khalid Masood and what is emerging about him in the media. It appears he had a violent background and struggled with anger issues. I have read that one police officer stated that “we may never know why he did it”. I disagree, although we may not know the precise details the process of a human being becoming disenfranchised from society and affiliating themselves with a cause that opposes that society is well known. So then how did he become so disenfranchised? Well little insights are given in reports from what he is reported to have said. He speaks about being the “wrong colour” and was apparently racially abused in years gone by. When someone feels like they don’t belong they feel like they are in purgatory due to we are pack/tribal animals. So we will look to join some sort of group and sometimes the enemy of my enemy ends of being perceived as a friend. Enter extremist groups full of disenfranchised individuals who have all bound together with the common interest of getting back at the society who rejected them.
But we know this is not an excuse as some people use adversity to grow and do positive things. Everything is a conscious choice that we make but we know people’s reaction to their environment can vary hugely. The best way we can reduce the risk of an adverse reaction by an individual to their environment is to accept responsibility for our own actions and what we put out in the world. If we put hate out then it creates a fertile environment for vulnerable people to be used by extremists groups.
As Einstein said “no problem can be solved by the same level of consciousness that created it”. If that is true then the hate directed at Khalid Masood may just be contributing to the problem and the next attack. And if that is true people are contributing to the suffering that those grieving families of the deceased are feeling right now.
Compassion and love is the only thing that can break this cycle and prevent further suffering. But most have been so conditioned to hate that if you suggest that, society has special insults for you: lefty, tree hugger, liberal etc. We have to start taking responsibility to the things we are putting out into the world. After the incident I heard people stating that if they were the ambulance staff they wouldn’t have been able to treat Masood or worse still would have helped him on his way. I personally think that he wanted to die and he took the easy way out. It would have been better if he had survived and come to a full realisation as to what he’d actually done.
So next time you see something awful just be aware that your initial gut/default reaction may be contributing to it. Each individual makes their own choices and has to take full responsibility for them. The only thing you are truly in control of in this world is you and your actions. You can’t control others or be responsible for others actions but you can heavily influence them. Ask yourself what type of environment you are creating for damaged and weak individuals like Masood. As clichéd as it sounds Gandi was right, you have to be the change you would like to see in the world.