1. The likelihood that you will be killed in a terrorist attack is extremely small. You are much more likely to be hit by lightning, killed in a car crash, have a heart attack, or meet your death hundreds of other ways.
2. Most documented terrorist attacks are perpetrated by people who are not Muslim. And this doesn't count anti-abortion violence or women being killed by abusive partners, which are forms of terrorism.
3. In 2013 and 2014, more than 316,000 people in the United States were killed by guns. 313 Americans died in terrorist attacks.
4. After the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, violence against Muslim people in the US and Canada have skyrocketed. Mosques have been burned and vandalized, women picking up their children at school have been attacked, people have been shoved, spit on, forced off planes.
5. In the UK and Europe, it is even worse.
* * * *
Yesterday, in my library, a woman called to alert us to a "security threat". She said she saw a woman wearing a hijab and carrying a backpack. Her two daughters were in judo class in the community centre, and she was "concerned for their safety".
Our senior librarian informed the caller that we don't call the police based on what people are wearing, and in a community centre and library, many people carry backpacks for their books, their swim gear, their lunch, and so on.
The librarian who took the call was seething, and I was close to tears all afternoon. This in Mississauga, one of the most diverse communities in the world, and in 2015. How can this be happening?
I've seen the small kindnesses and demonstrations of support that follow some of these incidents. They're important reminders. But hate is so loud, so destructive, so contagious and so addictive.'
How can we stop this madness?
Sometimes it seems very clear that human beings are incapable of learning from their past.