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Yes, ISIS Scares Me.

How can it not?

My friends and family have wondered what I think about it, does it worry me?

Well, here is my answer:

I am a military spouse, a veteran, and I live overseas in a location that ISIS has recently added to their target list.

I don’t like to admit it, heck, you would be hard pressed to find anyone related to the military to admit that it scares them, but it’s the truth. With the recent list of military members names and addresses released, it has just confirmed what I have felt all along; there is something different about this terrorist organization.

They are more cunning, aware, and socially adept at figuring out how to get to people. They’ve discovered this great tool called Social Media and they’ve flipped the script on us. They aren’t hiding, they are making their presence known. They are finding ways to identify with our youth using the very platforms they are hanging out on during the most impressionable periods of their lives.

We are so stuck on fighting an invisible war with bombs and drones, that we’ve allowed the very threat we are after to spread like a virus; and that is what ISIS is, a virus. Without us even knowing it, terrorist organizations like ISIS have begun to evolve in ways that the Taliban and Al Qaeda never could.

Maybe that is why ISIS scares me. We can kill their leaders, bomb their hideouts, raise our TSA security-check requirements, but it won’t stop them from multiplying. Why? Because of the very technology we depend on for so many things will also be the very thing that allows these extremists to push their agenda, and not only attract like-minded individuals, but inspire them. It’s the wildcard we never saw coming.

This knowledge is what bothers me.

It’s what keeps me up at night when my husband travels for work, it’s what makes me hesitant to be in large, populated attractions or cities, and it’s what petrifies me about flying. Maybe this sounds like a slight case of paranoia, and maybe it is, but every morning I turn on the news- there it is. Someone else’s worst fears realized by the hands of ISIS.

If the answer to the enemy has always been to find the target and kill the target, what will it be now? We can’t kill the internet. How will my country fight this threat, fight it and succeed?

Thomas Jefferson once wrote in 1796 to Thomas Paine saying, “Go on doing with your pen what in other times was done with the sword.” In 2015, it is the digital pen that has become mighty, and it is in my humble opinion that the answer to ISIS will be figuring out how to use it to stop them.

As a military spouse, I am not ashamed to admit my fears. Unlike past generations of military families, the threat is no longer contained to where the war is physically taking place. It is not only our service-members who are at risk, it is their families too. I have no doubt that these terrorists have the capacity for great evil. The most evil people know that the best way to hurt your enemy is not by killing them, but by killing what they love.

Yes, ISIS scares me.

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