When a terrorist attack happens, keep these 12 helpful points in mind.

Terrorists want to divide and conquer. Don't let them.

Terrorist attacks are horrifying.

In the wake of each one, we see the faces of victims on our screens. We hear interviews from witnesses breathlessly describing the terrors they endured. We feel a lot of conflicting, disorienting things — fear, sadness, anger, confusion, hopelessness, and despair — sometimes all at once.


We're often left wondering why?

It's easy to feel utterly helpless when terrorism takes lives. But there are ways you can defy the people and ideologies that inflict so much tragedy.

1. First, if you can, be the helper.

"When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers,'" Mr. Rogers once said. "You will always find people who are helping."

It's a quote that often circulates in the wake of terror attacks. But it's not just because it's reassuring; it also rings true. Anyone can be a helper if they're in a position to do so.

Helpers opened up their homes for victims and survivors in the wake of the May 22, 2017, bombing in Manchester, U.K.

Helpers also drove hundreds of miles to take home stranded travelers from the airport after the 2016 terrorist attack in Brussels. Small-business workers helped to protect their patrons in Paris last year after gunfire and blasts killed over 100 people.

Let compassion, not fear, inspire you to act in the hours and days following an attack. (Helping others doesn't just benefit victims; it helps us cope with tragedy, too.)

2. Then, remember terrorism seeks to divide, and don't let it.

Whether it's right-wing extremists targeting Planned Parenthood or jihadists targeting a French music venue, remember that terrorists are often hell-bent on creating the divisiveness that allows their message to thrive.

The vast, vast majority of Muslims, for instance, vehemently reject the messages behind groups like ISIS or al-Qaida. In fact, Muslims — not Christians or Jews — are by far the biggest victims of Islamic extremism. In the same way Westboro Baptist Church doesn't represent Christianity, radical Islamic groups don't represent Muslims.

3. Now, turn off the TV.

When tragedy strikes, we tend to stay glued to cable news for hours, hungry for more details, even when watching makes us more scared and more anxious. Our 24/7 news model is the perfect, sensationalized medium to disperse terror near and far, and extremists understand this well.

Vox's Carlos Maza breaks down how damaging this sort of news coverage is for our brains:

Listen to the American Psychological Association: After a terrorist attack, it's best to watch cable news sparingly (if at all).

4. When you do watch or read about what happened, especially as the news is still breaking, don't fall for or share fake news.

Terrorism seeks to breed chaos. There's usually a rush of contradicting news reports in the hours following an attack (all the more reason to turn off cable TV). Your social media feeds will be inundated with images, requests for donations, questionable quotes from supposed eyewitnesses, and photos purporting to show the immediate and gory aftermath of the attack.

News outlets or pundits sometimes jump to conclusions about the attackers' race or religion — a knee-jerk reaction rooted in xenophobia — and irresponsibly spread false or unconfirmed information. And some people, incredibly, exploit the tragedy for clicks and attention.

Don't add to the chaos. Vet what you're reading and sharing to make sure it's accurate. If you're not sure, don't share it. If you see people spreading false news, let them know.

If you choose to donate to an organization, make sure it's a credible one — like the many doing lifesaving work in support of refugees.

5. Donate to the people and causes affected by terror.

No one better understands the destruction Islamist terrorism can bring like refugees in countries like Syria and Iraq. Whether they've been affected directly or were uprooted due to the political ramifications of terror groups, refugees desperately need our help. Learn more and support organizations like UNICEF, Save the Children, and Islamic Relief USA.

Photo by Kutluhan Cucel/Getty Images.

In the U.S., domestic terrorists often target groups based on factors like race, politics, or religion. A Planned Parenthood facility in Colorado, a black church in Charleston, South Carolina, the streets of Dallas, where five police officers were shot and killed, an LGBTQ nightclub in Florida — they've all been ground zero in recent atrocities. When terrorists attack these groups and causes, we can fight back by supporting the groups' missions, helping them rebuild and reopen, and building bridges to boost understanding.

6. Put the real threats of terrorism into perspective.

In the U.S., you're far more likely to die in a parachuting accident or be buried alive than to be killed by a radical jihadist. You're also more likely to die at the hands of right-wing American terrorists — which, of course, isn't a comforting thought, but it does say a lot about how differently we see and react to radical Islamic extremism and domestic threats.

Now that you know the facts...

7. Don't cancel your plans; go to a concert, the movies, or your favorite restaurants.

After all, the fears we typically experience after a terrorist attack are pretty irrational, as psychiatrist Richard Friedman expressed in The New York Times in 2015.

"[The president] has to help us all realize that when we are in the grip of so-called emergency emotion — extreme fear and anxiety — we privilege our feeling over our thinking," he wrote. "And our estimation of the danger we face is exaggerated by our fear."

Go live life as you normally would — free of fear. That's exactly what most terrorists don't want.

8. Support leaders who want to fight all forms of terrorism with facts and level-headedness — not with fear-mongering.

Banning Muslims from entering the U.S. won't make us any safer, according to national security experts. But it will help bolster recruitment for extremist groups.

Photo by Andrew Harrer-Pool/Getty Images.

Many times, American right-wing extremists who carry out heinous acts of terror are excused as "lone wolfs," and their atrocities are overlooked or minimized by our politicians. If a terrorist's skin is white, reaction to their crimes will be much different than if they're from, say, Syria.

Support leaders who understand the nuances of both global and domestic terrorism and know how to fight it.

9. Talk about the damage of toxic masculinity.

Terrorists and extremists from all walks of life and religious beliefs usually have one thing in common: They're almost all men. Mass shooters, Christian extremists, jihadists, and others around the globe often find purpose in ideologies that give them a (false) sense of power and control.

We need to talk about how our collective inability to stomp out toxic masculinity — the attitudes that confine males to being violent, aggressive, and unemotional — is swaying men to find their purpose within extremist sects of all sorts.

10. Share news stories that help counter negative stereotypes about Muslims.

In the case of a terror attack that ISIS or another Islamist extremist group takes credit for, it's especially important we acknowledge how most Muslims are reacting after terror strikes.

They're as scared and horrified as anyone else.

After an attack near the U.K. Parliament building in March 2017, Muslims United for London raised thousands of dollars for victims and their families. Muslim groups in Florida rushed to get blood donations for victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando last year. In the wake of the Manchester, U.K., bombing, Muslim charity Human Appeal created a campaign to aid those affected by the atrocity.

These stories don't reflect the few. They reflect the feelings and attitudes of most Muslims.

11. Reach out to Muslims in your own community.

Needless to say, anti-white hate crimes don't spike in the U.S. after a right-wing extremist goes on a shooting rampage. Islamophobic hate crimes after a jihadist attack on the other hand? That's a different story.

This can leave American Muslims feeling isolated and targeted while fueling the type of division that acts as a recruiting tool for terrorist networks.

As an ally, this is when you're needed most.

Photo by Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images.

Leave a friendly note for the Muslim family nearby (or, better yet, knock on their door and say hello). Get lunch with the Muslim student who lives down the hall in your dorm building. Offer to walk with Muslims to and from mosques, like New Yorkers did last year, so they're more protected from violence on the street.

Do what you can to let our Muslim neighbors know they're welcome here.

12. Whatever you do, don't succumb to fear.

Do just the opposite.

As former Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said in 2011 after a horrific attack by a right wing extremist resulted in the deadliest incident in Norway since World War II (emphasis added): "We are still shocked by what has happened. But we will never give up our values. Our response is more democracy, more openness, and more humanity."

Remember: Compassion and empathy do far more in fighting terrorism than divisiveness and fear.

"Fight or flight" is real, and it makes sense that those instincts tell us to build walls or turn away from our neighbors in the face of senseless violence. It's in those moments especially that we have to remind ourselves that that's what extremists want us to do.

When terror strikes, turn off the TV, parse through the fake news, and do what you can to help those who need it most. Live your life exactly how terrorists hope you don't.

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Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

Cities

The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Don't like Michelle Obama? Don't care. Those of us who love her will fly our MO flags high and without apology, paying no mind to folks with cold, dead hearts who don't know a gem of a human being when they see one. There is nothing any hater can say or do to make us admire this undeniably admirable woman any less.

When it seems like the world has lost its mind—which is how it feels most days these days—I'm just going to keep coming back to this study as evidence that hope for humanity is not lost.

Here. Enjoy some real-life Michelle on Jimmy Kimmel. (GAH. WHY IS SHE SO CUTE AND AWESOME. I can't even handle it.)

Michelle & Barack Obama are Boring Now www.youtube.com

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via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet

The world is dark and full of terrors, but every once in a while it graces us with something to warm our icy-cold hearts. And that is what we have today, with a single dad who went viral on Twitter after his daughter posted the photos he sent her when trying to pick out and outfit for his date. You love to see it.




After seeing these heartwarming pics, people on Twitter started suggesting this adorable man date their moms. It was essentially a mom and date matchmaking frenzy.

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