By David J. Seidemann, Esq.

If you feel safer these days than in days gone by, you are either incredibly brave or terribly naive. The world seems to be spinning out of control and we almost expect to hear of more violence and terror every time we turn on the news. Evil acts followed by empty rhetoric or impotent responses fuel the next evil act, snuffing out the lives of countless innocents. Indiscriminate killings of citizens and targeted killings of law enforcement have created a great sense of anxiety.

Words matter, or there would be no need for a dictionary. The proper and most effective words matter, or there would be little need for a thesaurus. Actions matter, or there would be no armies. The proper and most effective actions matter, or there would be no victors in battle.

Entire protest movements have been created based on false narratives, on words never uttered and actions that never took place or that were reported falsely. And the bad guys wait for more cues from the good guys, signs that our guard is down, that the threats are not being taken seriously. It takes but a matter of days for the evildoer to become radicalized, because the seeds of evil are already implanted. Often the radicalization is just nature filling a vacuum. Interesting that violence, and not benevolence, is filling that void.

Add into the mix a failed military coup and we have had a dangerous summer already. The political conventions in Cleveland and next week in Philadelphia will produce the same rhetoric we hear every four years. Even when not plagiarized, it all sounds the same. Promises of dreams being fulfilled and opportunity for all. Peace throughout the world, with America leading the way. We’ve heard it all before. The problem is, so have the bad guys–and they simply don’t believe it. Therefore they continue to operate on the world stage without any fear of repercussion. True, there are some that want to die at all costs, and all evil might never be fully eradicated. But we can and must do a better job of de-incentivizing those on the fringe.

We grieve over the loss of a lone soldier this week in Israel as we shudder over the murder spree of a lone wolf here in America.

To be sure, I don’t believe there is such a soldier as a lone soldier and I don’t believe there is such a wolf as a lone wolf. Neither operates in a vacuum. Neither was created out of thin air. Both were inspired by the actions of those who preceded them and by the reactions of others to those actions.

The “lone” Israeli soldier was never alone, as he had the backing and support of an entire nation. He was inspired by the heroic actions and commitment of previous soldiers, and warmed by how he perceived the country’s reaction to those other soldiers. Any doubts he might have had about his mission were set aside by the words and actions of a loving and appreciative country. His mission is to protect and defend, with warfare a last resort. His desired result is peace. He wants to live. He wants others to live. His inner soul appreciates life because he is good and he has seen the reward for good around him. He has a mind of his own and a heart of his own. He has made decisions for himself and created his own opportunities, yet he does not act alone; he is part of a movement rooted in good.

The lone wolf is rooted in evil. He has witnessed evil around him and witnessed a tepid response from its victims. He, too, has been inspired but he is not a victim. He actively chose evil over good. Does he really believe that ample reward awaits him in the next world? I would assume not, or the leaders of the radical groups would be sacrificing themselves instead of recruiting others.

The lone wolf is not a lone wolf. He is part of a pack of wolves that in most instances have been allowed to roam free, aided and abetted by the silence of their own “moderates” and the failure of our leaders to properly define and eradicate the enemy.

The lone wolf and his pack revel in the terror they create and in the free world’s ineptitude in effectively combating it. This is a relatively new phenomenon for a lot of people. But for the Jewish people, for the land of Israel, it is a perpetual and existential threat we are getting better at dealing with. Perhaps the world will wake up and hear what we have been saying for thousands of years and, in modern times, since 1948. There is such a thing as evil, and being good to evil or ignoring evil does not make it go away. We know that–and so do the terrorists.

Now it’s time for the rest of the world to realize that as well. v

David Seidemann is a partner with the law firm of Seidemann and Mermelstein and serves as a professor of business law at Touro College. He can be reached at 718-692-1013 or ds@lawofficesm.com.

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