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We need to deny the radical voices their megaphones
It is in our power to stop giving the radical voices in our community the attention they crave
An 18-year-old from Sayreville, a town just 2 miles away from East Brunswick, was arrested in connection to the terrorist threats against New Jersey synagogues earlier this month.
An 18-year-old man from Middlesex County, N.J., was arrested and charged on Thursday with threatening to attack a synagogue and Jews earlier this month, an episode that led to warnings from the Federal Bureau of Investigation in New Jersey of a broad security risk to synagogues in the state.
The man, identified as Omar Alkattoul, of Sayreville, N.J., shared a document titled “When Swords Collide” with several people via social media on Nov. 1, prosecutors said.
Interestingly, when Kanye West made his infamous anti-Semitic remarks, Darius Mayfield (a Republican candidate for the NJ-12 congressional district) came out on social media, guns blazing, defending Kanye — thus giving Kanye the megaphone and an audience.
The overarching theme of the remarks was that it was Kanye and somehow the Republican candidate himself was a victim, not the Jews. Some Republican supporters even denied the irrefutable fact that all East Brunswick synagogues require some armed security during services.
No, they aren’t what I would call anti-semites. But they certainly go out of their way to defend and enable the anti-semites’ right to spread their poison with a megaphone.
On a personal note, we all know that terrorism (both foreign and domestic) continues to be a major threat to our country. It is sad that the internet has made radicalization of our youth so easy and infectious. I guess it jolts us to know just how close to danger we had come.
East Brunswick is not immune to domestic terrorism and threats to our community. This election cycle revealed itself to be no different from 2021, with charged rhetoric on social media and all sides digging their heels in just for the principle of it. Perhaps, following our mayor’s advice from January 2021 to count to ten before posting a comment on social media that would only escalate the rhetoric is a wise idea.
When we comment on inflammatory posts, we play into the Facebook algorithms that work to expand the audience and only give a larger megaphone to the voices that don’t deserve it. Twitter is imploding, and Facebook is dying. Humans were never meant to talk this much to each other as we can all barely manage about a dozen trusted relationships. The worst agitators on social media crave attention and go out of their way to get us to change focus. The less we comment on their posts, the less attention they get, the more it drives them nuts, and the narrower the scope of their audience becomes. We can deny the radicals among us a megaphone, and we can bring back civility.