In “How to Overcome Evil [3]” (December 2014), Jim Wallis covers the problems and politics that made such a thing as ISIS possible. He’s quite right: ISIS did not just pop up out of nowhere.

From my own research, I learned that they are the product of the violence and confusion in the region—conditions that would make many of us willing to grasp at straws or at a terrorist group searching for a way out. I definitely don’t support ISIS, a group using terror and torture to maintain power, but I understand the sense of hopelessness and powerlessness. These are very human feelings, and ISIS has expertly channeled them to their own ends. I believe the solution is to come up with something better for potential ISIS recruits to grasp onto.

Lynn Magnuson
New Orleans, Louisiana