By CANDI MOWLEY
We can all agree on a few things in this painful time. Bombings are bad. Bombing injure people. Bombings destroy families. We all mourn the loss of our fallen police officers and civilians. The next important question is: how do we stop bombings in the future?
The answer is far simpler than it might seem. Why it’s within arm’s reach.
Let’s pause a moment to talk about what we should not do. Many will jump to conclusions about blaming all Muslims. These people will suggest jailing all Muslims or stopping Muslims from entering the U.S. simply because they have gripes with how our country treats other people. These are small minded solutions that blame millions for the transgressions of a few.
There is a way that is fair and would cost us nothing. Hear me out before you scoff. That way is through thousands – no, millions – of gentle, nurturing hugs.
You heard me, tough guy. Hugs!
Why hugs? How about science? You do believe in science, don’t you?
Studies show that men that try to commit terrorist acts or try to hurt people may really be crying out for help. They might have had difficult childhoods or struggled in their relationships with their parents.
Take 19-year-old Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Little Tsarnaev was separated from his parents at a young age. He moved to a strange country with a strange language and was forced to adapt. No one taught him to avoid the violent images on our TV and video games. He fended for himself in a harsh concrete jungle.
All of this isolation and stress that befell little Tsarnaev can cause the release of steroid hormones known as glucocorticoids. These can lead to increased aggression along with suppression of rational thought. See a pattern?
Santa Marino College psychology professor Margaret T. Wang says that every time a person is hugged, they begin to relax and the harmful effects of stress are neutralized. “Being hugged by another person immediately relaxes a person,” she said. “The heart rate drops, pleasant endorphins are released and the adrenaline level drops.” Their glucocorticoid levels also drop dramatically. “For some individuals suffering stress receiving a nice warm hug is all the treatment they need,” said Professor Wang.
So there you have it. The only question becomes how can our government mandate that Americans hug Muslim immigrants. Obviously, legislation will be needed and could be a part of the proposed immigration reform legislation. Or it could be introduced in Congress as a standalone bill. A cost-free law would be a nice change for politicians in Washington.
In any event, our choice is clear. We either hug Muslims or risk paying the ultimate price for our own insularity.
Candi Mowley is a Senior Analyst with the Third Way, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank.