Making Sense of the Senseless


In light of the attacks that took place in Paris, France, on Friday, Nov. 13, President Kunkel announced that a panel discussion would be held on campus, titled “The Paris Attacks: Making Sense of the Senseless.” The event took place on Wednesday, Nov. 18, and was held in the Campus Center for anyone that wanted to attend.

The panel discussion was organized by the Center for International Education, and the panel itself consisted of SNC faculty members: Dr. Tom Conner, Professor of Modern Languages and Literature; Dr. Robert Kramer, Professor of History; Dr. Luis Navarro-Ayala, Assistant Professor in Modern Languages and Literature; Dr. Ozum Yesiltas, Visiting Assistant Professor of Political Science and Dr. Wendy Scattergood, Assistant Professor of Political Science, who was also the moderator for the panel.

The event received a significant turnout and more than 100 students attended. It was a way for individuals to increase their global understanding about why these attacks occurred, and how to best deal with the repercussions.

A point that was widely emphasized throughout the discussion was the overgeneralization that society can speculate about Muslims and the Muslim culture, when in fact, many Muslims preach peace in their religious values and do not promote radical and violent actions.

The discussion between the panel and audience highlighted several points dealing with social media. Social media is a prominent factor that contributes to the recruitment and support behind ISIS. The radical material ISIS releases online can influence individuals who feel alienated, victimized and isolated from society, searching for a sense of belonging. This information can be found any time, anywhere and by anyone.

Social media also ties in as problematic when it comes to the Syrian Refugee crisis, as the internet is filled abhorrence against these refugees, spreading more fear worldwide about them entering other countries to escape ISIS. Some countries have displayed great hospitality to the refugees, while others have not. The panel discussed how closing the U.S. borders to these refugees could increase alienation and isolation even further, by denying them any sort of safe zone they where they could rebuild their lives.

Scattergood ended the panel discussion in stating, “Above all, rather than give into fear, defy it. Terrorism is a theater of mass terror and mass fear. If you’re afraid thousands of miles from the attack, they have accomplished what they set out to do. Don’t let them win. Fight terrorism by appreciating life everyday, seek deep joy and fulfillment, react with love, practice everyday acts of kindness, empathy and inclusiveness. In short, be part of our Norbertine community of communio.”


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