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恐惧升级:当任何事物都可以成为武器

更新时间:2017-8-19 9:27:46 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

As Vehicle Attacks Rise, an Ordinary Object Becomes an Instrument of Fear
恐惧升级:当任何事物都可以成为武器

This time it was Barcelona. An ordinary van was transformed into a deadly and indiscriminate weapon.

这一次是巴塞罗那。一辆普通的厢式货车变成了致命的无差别攻击武器。

It seemed to be yet another blow to trust in a basic social compact: that people are essentially safe when they walk down the street, relying on drivers to at least try to follow the rules. That accidents would be impersonal and random, and that everyone would try to avoid them.

人们走在街上时大体是安全的,他们相信司机至少会试图遵守交谈规则——如今,人们对这项基本社会契约的信任似乎再次遭到了打击。事故的发生本是随机的,不带个人色彩,所有人都得尽量避免。

Even though the automotive terrorist attacks of the past two years are far rarer than accidents, they are a warning that a driver can wield the ordinary car as a weapon. If anything — even something as ubiquitous as a car — can be a weapon, that adds a sense of menace to daily urban life.

尽管过去两年间的机动车恐怖袭击远远少于交通事故,但它们却是一种警告:司机可以把一辆普通的汽车变作武器。如果任何东西都可以成为武器,甚至连汽车这样无所不在的东西也是如此,无疑会给城市的日常生活增添威胁之感。

Years of research has found that fear can eventually divide and poison societies, hardening people against perceived outsiders, even causing them to abandon key values. This kind of attack, using one of the most ordinary objects of daily life, could heighten that effect.

多年研究发现,恐惧最终会分裂和毒害社会,令人们更加强硬地对待被视为外来者的人,甚至会使人放弃自己的核心价值。使用某种最普通的日常生活物品发动攻击可以增强这种效果。

The political scientists Marc Hetherington and Elizabeth Suhay, for instance, have found that when people who are usually open and trusting toward outsiders feel they are at risk of a terrorist attack, they become more likely to support harsh, authoritarian policies and more willing to sacrifice civil liberties in exchange for perceived safety.

比如,政治学家马克·赫瑟林顿(Marc Hetherington)和伊丽莎白·舒豪伊(Elizabeth Suhay)发现,通常对外来者持开放和信任心态的人一旦感到自己面临恐怖袭击的危险,就会变得更有可能支持严厉的专制政策,更愿意牺牲公民自由以换取他们眼中的安全感。

Terrorist attacks are designed to draw public attention and inspire widespread terror. They force us, as members of the public, to make a mental calculation: Could this happen to me or someone I love? Is there a way I can stay safe? What would it take to protect me?

恐怖袭击的目的是为了吸引公众关注,并引发普遍的恐惧感。我们都是公众的一员,这些恐怖袭击迫使我们在内心进行估算:这种事可能发生在我或我爱的人身上吗?有没有什么办法能让我保持安全?要保护我自己需要付出什么代价?

To find reassurance, we look for strategies that make it possible to answer those questions in a reassuring way.

为了寻求安慰,我们诉诸各种策略,希望能为这些问题找到令人放心的答案。

After the attacks of Sept. 11, for instance, many avoided flying. People who worked in small, anonymous offices could comfort themselves that only buildings as high profile as the World Trade Center or the Pentagon were at risk of being targeted.

比如,9·11恐怖袭击之后,许多人避免乘飞机出行。在小型普通写字楼工作的人们可以安慰自己说,只有像世界贸易中心或五角大楼那样的著名建筑物才有成为恐袭目标的风险。

But cars, trucks and vans are all around us. There is no set of rules or limits, short of withdrawing entirely from public life, that would fully protect against an attack like this.

但汽车、卡车和面包车就在我们身边。没有任何规则或限制可以彻底防止这样的攻击,除非我们彻底放弃公共生活。

The risks of being killed in this kind of attack are low. In the United States alone, car accidents kill 30,000 to 40,000 people a year. Worldwide, terrorist attacks using cars or other vehicles have killed a tiny fraction of that number.

在这种袭击中遇害的风险很低。仅在美国,汽车事故每年就会导致三万到四万人的死亡。在世界范围内,使用小汽车或其他车辆的恐怖袭击事件造成的死亡人数远远不及这个数字。

But that calculus cannot reason fear away. The possibility of an accident feels different from the possibility of being deliberately, if randomly, targeted for murder.

但是,数学并不能说服我们不去恐惧。成为蓄意谋杀的目标——即便目标是随机的——这种可能性与遭遇事故的可能性感觉完全不同。

Still, the story of cities has always been one of managing seemingly widespread dangers, including terrorism.

然而,有史以来,城市一直都在管理着各种看似普遍的危险,包括恐怖主义。

In the early 1990s, after Provisional I.R.A. terrorists placed a bomb in a garbage can in London's Victoria train station, the city removed many of the bins. Visiting the city, one was left either to puzzle at the absence of refuse or, if one knew why they were absent, to see every bin-less street as a reminder that a bomb could be waiting around any corner. The fear eventually grew less shocking, transmuting into the background of dangers inherent in living in a city.

1990年代初,临时爱尔兰共和军(Provisional I.R.A.)恐怖分子在伦敦的维多利亚火车站垃圾桶内放置了一个炸弹,此后伦敦拆除了许多垃圾箱。访问这座城市的人可能会对这座城市何以缺少垃圾箱感到大惑不解;如果他们知道这是为什么,就会把每一个没有垃圾箱的街道视为一种提醒:炸弹可能会出现在任何角落。恐惧最终变得不那么令人震惊,而是变成了城市生活固有的危险背景的一部分。

By twisting the purpose of a commonplace machine, attacks like the one in Barcelona create a sense that public life is tinged with inescapable danger. When anything can become a weapon, that chips away at the hope that terrorist attacks are somehow predictable or controllable. It does not take any special skills or resources to obtain a van and drive it into a crowd of innocent people. All it takes is motivation.

通过改变一种普通机器的用途,巴塞罗那这样的恐怖袭击创造了一种感觉:公共生活染上了不可避免的危险气息。一旦任何事物都可以成为武器,人们便无法期待恐怖袭击能以某种方式被预测或控制。要获取一辆面包车,并将其撞向无辜的人群,这不需要任何特殊技能或资源,只需要一个动机。

That fear is not merely unpleasant. It can have real impact on society and politics.

这种恐惧不仅令人不快,还有可能对社会和政治产生真正的影响。

The recent attacks in Europe may help to explain, for instance, why a recent study from Chatham House, a British research organization, found that over half of Europeans support a ban on immigration from Muslim-majority countries.

例如,最近发生在欧洲的袭击可能有助于解释英国研究机构皇家国际事务研究所(Chatham House)前不久的一项研究发现:半数以上的欧洲人支持禁止来自穆斯林占多数国家的移民入境。

Other research shows that when people feel they are under attack because of their membership in a particular group, like their religion, their nationality or their race, they become more attached to that identity, and more hardened and suspicious toward outsiders. That can promote what social scientists call “outgrouping” — fear of outsiders and a desire to control or punish them. When terrorist organizations target, say, Westerners, that leads to outgrouping behavior.

其他研究表明,当人们因身为依据宗教、国籍或种族等因素划分的特定群体而受到攻击时,他们会变得越来越依赖于这种身份,对外人采取更加强硬和怀疑的态度。这可以促成社会学家所说的“外群”(outgrouping)心态——对外人有所恐惧,并且希望控制或惩罚他们。比如说,当恐怖组织把目标对准西方人的时候,就会导致外群行为。

That feeling of “us” versus “them” divides society, heightening prejudices and creating social battle lines — precisely the sort of politics championed by right-wing populists who have grown popular in Europe and the United States.

这种“我们”对抗“他们”的感觉会分裂社会、增加偏见,制造社会战线,而这正是在欧洲和美国日益盛行的右翼民粹主义者所倡导的那种政治。

This research suggests that the fear created by the attack, by undermining public trust and unity, could cause another deep and lasting harm, less visible than the immediate casualties but still tremendously powerful.

这项研究表明,恐怖袭击通过破坏公众的信任与团结所造成的恐惧,可能会导致另一种深刻而持久的危害,它不如直接伤亡那么明显,但依然极为强大。

Whatever the effect of such attacks on Western politics, they are already changing, in subtle but unmistakable ways, the mental geography of urban life. As cities inevitably produce more barriers to wall off the remote threat of another attack, we will grow only more conscious of the ever-present threat posed by ordinary objects.

无论这种攻击对西方政治的影响如何,它们都以微妙而明确无误的方式改变了城市生活的精神形态。随着城市不可避免地制造更多的壁垒,以阻止另一次攻击的遥远威胁,我们只会愈发意识到日常事物所造成的威胁是一直存在的。

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