Yesterday, I woke up to a smiling, bonny baby and to the news that over 120 people had been senselessly killed in Paris. These people were not in a war zone but at a concert, eating at a restaurant and strolling around their city.
Upon reading the news, my stomach sank. Every time I hear of a horrid attack of violence, even if it’s at the back of beyond, I feel it as acutely as if it was someone I know hurt. Because it could so easily have been my Husband at work, my Besty at a concert or my Nan shopping. It’s terrifying. These people who are just going about their daily business are shot down, burned alive or subject to other barbaric torture right out of a Stephen King novel.
I’m raising my daughter in a world where there is genuine cause to fear for your life when going about your daily business. It terrifies me that I can’t keep her safe. Yes, I can teach her right from wrong, expose her to good people and teach her to stay alert to possible dangers but I can’t protect her from random acts of violence.
What can I do? Do I stop her going to big citys for fear of that 1 in a million chance her bus will be blown up? Do we stay away from planes lest they crash? Do I home school her in case a student pulls out a gun in class? Do I limit her ambitions to ensure she doesn’t join a profession that chases the violence to report on it or fight it as army staff?
No. Because then that evil minority wins. There will always be people who want to hurt, destroy and kill. I’m not prepared to let them define mine or my family’s lives. I’m going to raise my daughter to love others, treat others as she would like to be treated and to respect everyone’s views, even if she does not agree with them. To live and let live. Maybe if we all do this, the violence could stop.
To all those in Paris, know that we feel your pain as we stand united against atrocity.