The Fragility of Security

The security of our loved ones is always keenly important to us. We like to think that we can protect them from harm, be it the school bully or a terrorist. As with all things scale is important, in the schoolyard one person can make a difference, against an army we band together not for the sake of safety in numbers but because we know that what we can achieve together is greater than what we can do alone. The world is so big that none of us can be all the things required to ensure our own wellbeing; a doctor, a soldier, a teacher. Society pulls together so that a specialised portion of the whole can carry that weight for the rest of us. Our entire civilisation is based upon the notion that we can't all be a mechanic, a plumber or a neurosurgeon but the vast web of human capability that forms our social groups, economy and governance is capable of filling all of these roles for us on a contributory basis.

This system is unfair. All people are not equal in capability; be that an injustice or a simple fact of individuality. We entrust some individuals with power in the faith that they will wield it in support of the whole of society. That they will use it to protect us with wisdom and a sense of justice. The greatest of those trusts is the custody of our fears and our vulnerabilities. Those fears and vulnerabilities, the things we cannot as individuals protect ourselves from but as a society can rise against and overcome, they can be a powerful weapon in the hands of someone with a will to use them against us.

Do not believe that the only people with a will to do you harm are those that hate you. You understand humanity better than this, and human behaviour is rarely that clinically logical. We hurt each other for the most bizarre of reasons; we pick on the girl we like because we're afraid our peers will realise and tease us. Sometimes the worst harm can come of the best intent, and far more often a more complex weave of pressures can prepare us to take actions that from the outside might seem completely absurd or even blatantly harmful. It is when those actions pray on our fears they are their most potent. When this situation arises and challenges the principles of society that we hold most dear then it is only the co-operation of those with the fortitude to take a stand that can set things right.

A stand does not mean revolution, it means education and responsible action. You have access to current events the world over in real time and the political process. You should employ scepticism and patience. Do what you can to understand the situation, and act with conscience - whether at the voting booth or a public demonstration or simply in conversation with your friends. Our greatest strength is each other.

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