“What is the world coming to?” my 70-year-old grandmother asked during our conversation about the recent terrorist attack in Paris. The scenes of carnage in a city she’s visited many times prompted her to reminisce, with fond nostalgia, on the immensely different world she grew up in — a world where everyone supposedly left their doors unlocked and violence was nowhere near as common as it is today.

Statistically speaking, these rosy memories are fallacious. Contrary to popular belief, we’re currently living in the most peaceful time in human history. Homicide rates, sexual assault rates and war deaths are a record low across the globe.

Despite these improvements, it remains easy to feel cynical about the direction the world is heading in because much work is still needed to make our planet a safer place. These negative feelings become especially pronounced after disaster, because it’s often forgotten that after a particularly bad storm, you can expect to find a rainbow. Or, in the words of Mister Rogers, after a disaster, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”

Fourteen years ago, the United States watched in horror as the World Trade Center fell to the ground and into our collective memory. The images from Sept. 11 are not only some of the most powerful of the 21st century, but also among the most powerful in global history. They joined the powerful group of media snippets — paintings of people suffering from the bubonic plague, pictures from the firing on Fort Sumter and videos of Hitler’s first speech as chancellor, to name a few — that captured events that went on to permanently alter the trajectory of foreign and domestic policy.

To most, these images of disaster represent nothing more than negative scars on our history. However, what isn’t shown in these pictures is the aid and support that poured in after the cameras were put down. While photos from Sept. 11 are full of death and despair, photos from Sept. 12 tell a vastly different and more uplifting story.

The day after the towers came down, the world stood together in solidarity to show that it supported New York and to the mourn the loss of those who died in the attacks. Millions of dollars of aid money poured into the city — money that everyday working families had earned and had every right to keep. Yet, they found it within themselves to put aside their wants and needs for someone else’s benefit.

Over the decade and a half that followed, similar scenarios have played out across the globe. The 2004 South Asian tsunami, Hurricane Katrina, Haitian and Japanese earthquakes, the Gulf Oil Spill and the Ebola crisis are all rightfully branded as disasters, and all of these events were seen by some as a sort of omen signaling that times are getting worse. Yet these events ended with people from all over the world coming together to help the victims, a fact that is overlooked all too often.

Here we are today, looking at Paris and asking ourselves how we keep letting this happen. It’s easy to ask, “What is the world coming to?” while we ignore all of the love that flowed into the city after the hateful acts. During the attacks, many people risked their own lives to save the lives of people they didn’t know. After the attacks, the world supported Paris by sending moral support and engaging in other acts of kindness. For example, Airbnb, a popular service that allows people to rent their homes to travelers, provided homes for Parisians in need of a place to stay. Acts like these were common, but were outshadowed by the negativity that followed the attacks.

This isn’t to say we shouldn’t discuss tragedies when they strike — we definitely should. However, when we have these discussions, we shouldn’t forget to look for the helpers who inevitably arrive when the smoke settles, the individuals who continue to prove that most people do not have hate in their hearts. If not, we might leave the discussion with a more cynical view of the world than what actually exists.

Jason Rowland is an LSA freshman and Editorial Board member. 

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