We all recall where we were when x happened.
JFK, Lockerbie, 9-11, 7-7, whatever. It’s relentless, isn’t it?
But then – it’s not always about the bad; remember putting a man on the moon, or Nelson Mandela walking to freedom, the fall of the USSR, the fall of the Berlin Wall. Good stuff is also relentless.
And sometimes our jaws drop in wonder at the good as much as at the bad.
Good and bad.
The facts of life are not terribly difficult to understand – sh*t happens sometimes, but so does great stuff. Our greatest enemy is nature – we constantly fight it to keep dry, to keep warm, to keep fed. But it fights back and takes a massive toll in floods, landslides, sinkholes, earthquakes, tsunamis, tornados, hurricanes, and more besides.
Then there is the man-made stuff; bad stuff is not always “mother nature” or “the gods”; people can also wreak havoc: gunmen in schools, rapists, pillagers, suicide bombers, politicians, mentally unstable people and the angry and intolerant.
What happens is this – a natural disaster occurs and everyone goes on the media and social media to send thoughts and prayers. A fund may be set up. We come together, we rebuild. Life goes on.
Then when a bomb goes off, everyone goes to the media and social media to send thoughts and prayers. A fund may be set up. We come together, we stand defiant, we rebuild and life goes on.
The subtle difference between a natural event and a man-made event is that we feel we could somehow have prevented the man-made one happening.
But is that true?
Look, I have small children. I know they could get a virus, they could get injured, the could be attacked. We all know the possibilities, the risks. But I also know that they could have wonder, fun, and experience joy and happiness too and that I need to let them have their own life and stop being so over-protective. It’s the contrast between the lows and highs that add the most drama.
What can y’do?
I totally understand people demanding that “something should be done” when bad things happen. I get the calls for change, for more checks and balances, for tighter security, for arming police – for a complete change in our way of life.
But I do not want that.
Instead, I feel that it is not what happens as much as how one deals with what happens. How quickly things get back on course – back to “normal”. Of course, if something happened to my child, I would feel what any parent would – but I would not demand change. I would insist on the opposite.
Yes, I have come to terms with terrorism. I see it as a risk as much as any natural event. I won’t take it personally. I accept the pain, the shame, the anguish, I feel for all survivors everywhere. I just think we all have to accept that sh*t happens and we cannot prevent it. It could be an earthquake, or it could be a terrorist. It doesn’t really matter which at the end of the day. It ought not to stop anyone living a life and making the best of it.
There is little point in calling for an eye for an eye or to fight fire with fire or to gnash teeth and wring hands. We have to push through the loss, the grief, the senselessness of life. That is all – nothing could have stopped it, no measures are air-tight, and who would wish to live in such an air-tight claustrophobic nanny state world (apart from terrorists, that is)?
Getting on with it is not an act of defiance or some show against terrorism, it is simply a fact of life. A knee-jerk reaction is never a good option. Why does anything have to change because of a weird event? Every base cannot be covered.
My call is to allow people to get on with dealing with life as best they can without undue and unhelpful interference or influence. Life’s hard enough.