Online Opinion Outpost: Oct. 28, 2014

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The Online Opinion Outpost features opinions and commentary on the latest hot topics from national news sources. As much as you love hearing from The Universe, we thought you might like to hear from journalists around the nation.

Canadian attack
The Washington Examiner

Canadians were shocked Wednesday when Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, a mentally disturbed convert to Islam with a criminal history, shot and killed a soldier standing guard at the National War Memorial in Ottawa.
The attack was especially disturbing because, just a day earlier, a Quebec man with known Islamic terrorist ties had run down two soldiers with his car, killing one. Both that driver and Bibeau are now dead. But their respective rampages serve as a reminder that terrorist threats are real and that the danger they pose goes beyond just international terrorist groups.
The experience in Ottawa highlights the threat of home-grown terrorism — specifically, the kind inspired by but not coordinated by well-known international terrorist networks that the U.S. and other western nations have been fighting in the Middle East.
The heart of the problem is that open societies are vulnerable for exactly the same reasons they are desirable. Americans feel genuinely inconvenienced by the new security procedures used in airports and government buildings since the Sept. 11 attacks.
Neither Canada nor America can afford to be complacent, because the threat persists.

 

Ebola denial
Michael Gerson, The Washington Post

The Ebola virus has multiplied in a medium of denial. There was the initial denial that a rural disease, causing isolated outbreaks that burned out quickly, could become a sustained, urban killer. There is the (understandable) denial of patients in West Africa, who convince themselves that they have flu or malaria (the symptoms are similar to Ebola) and remain in communities. And there is the form of denial now practiced by Western governments — a misguided belief that an incremental response can get ahead of an exponentially growing threat.
But the disease is not contained within Liberia and Sierra Leone.
Until there is a vaccine, limiting the spread of Ebola depends on education and behavior change. People must be persuaded to do things that violate powerful human inclinations. This is the exceptional cruelty of Ebola — it requires human beings to overcome humane instincts for comfort, tradition and optimism. And this difficult education must come from trusted sources in post-conflict societies where few institutions have established public trust.

 

Zellweger sparks discussion

Victoria Karlinsky, The New York Times

Sometimes, when we speak about celebrities, we forget that they are normal people, just like us, with their own problems, issues, insecurities and perceptions of themselves. As an actress and a star, Renee Zellweger, at 45, has to deal with an aging face, which she must keep up not just for professional reasons but also to feel good and confident about herself.
She may have had plastic surgery, but she has been out of the spotlight for several years and we don’t know how much her face has aged in that time. If she chose to have a procedure that made her look different, it didn’t go too far. She looks age appropriate.
Being in the public eye does not mean that she owes the public anything. Her upkeep is her choice, and she can change things about herself as she pleases.
To age gracefully does not mean that one should do nothing. The products available on the market today, if utilized appropriately, truly help to keep us looking younger, healthier and, most important, more confident.

Jennifer Weiner, The New York Times

Are you a female person? Do you have a face and a body?
Are you, perhaps, confused about who gets to decide who can see your body, and who determines how your face can look? Do you think that the answer to either of those questions is “you?”
Luckily, pop culture has provided helpful recent examples of how things work. Take notes!
1. Your body is an object, available for public consumption.
2. Your body must meet certain standards.
3. None of this can look like work.
The latest round of photo leaks and Botox-shaming has a point, and the point is to keep women quiet. You want to shut a woman up? Don’t tell her she’s wrong, tell her she’s ugly.
“What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life?” asked poet Muriel Ruykeyser. “The world would split open.” What would happen if more women — famous and unfamous — eschewed liposuction, shunned tanning beds and swapped the occasional run on the treadmill for a march on City Hall? The world might split open even more deeply — and that could be a beautiful thing.

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