Over the weekend, I left a comment on a friend’s blog. Susie Lindau was off on a European vacation and I left her some memories of my trip to the UK, attaching best wishes at the tail end of the comment. Those cheery, hopeful wishes were ransacked inside the very same day when I got home on Saturday evening and turned on the television to news of terrorist attacks taking place across London. And so I hopped on the computer and emailed Susie, hoping to generate a reply that she was somewhere safe.
Before I left the house on Sunday morning, I checked my email again. Still no reply. I headed off to a softball tournament, but my thoughts never strayed very far from Susie and her husband; and the hope that I would receive word that they were okay. When Susie finally replied, letting me know she was in Edinburgh, Scotland with Danny . . I said a prayer of thanks and I exhaled. But that giddy feeling was soon replaced with a sobering thought.
My God . . there’s really no end to this crazy shit.
The opposing sides will tell you differently. The people on the right insist that we can stop the bad guys with walls and tough guy immigration policies even if the truth of the matter is that walls ain’t gonna keep us safe from harm, and stricter immigration policies will not undermine the evil bastards who are stealing more and more of these days from us. And then you have the people on the left who bend over backwards not to offend the Muslim community. But pretending away the virulent fringe of that community isn’t going to help us identify what in the hell is going on and has been going on in the most desperate pockets of the world for a very long time.
Neither side seems to understand what in the hell they’re looking at. The only thing they have in common is that they do not possess a blessed idea as to how this stops. How could they?
Because the truth is, there is no end to this kind of madness. Not really. If someone is willing to die in order to take another human life, nothing short of placing every single human being inside a titanium bubble is going to prevent that from happening. It’s a dark and hopeless take, I know. It also happens to be the reality of our world.
No one is safe. Anywhere. Anytime.
Most people were living with a false sense of security before the September 11th attacks; an event that provided its global citizens with the bloodiest evidence to date of a new and pervasive normal. Thing is, terror isn’t a new reality to the hopeless places of this world, where the looming threat of bloodshed is possible on a daily basis, and has been that way, like . . . forever. Hell, it wasn’t even new to our own backyard. Not after Timothy McVeigh took 168 souls with a truck bomb in April of ’94. And just so’s we can keep the “Make America Great Again” faction honest, let’s not forget that McVeigh was born here. And for those on the left who are always quick to point that out . . . see? You can identify where a bad guy is from, if you try hard enough.
Why do we still pretend that sides matter if the best they can offer is Chuck Norris to right of us and Kumbaya to the left? Neither side is going to make the peace that cannot be made, in a world where peace cannot involve itself for very long before the next day is lost to madness.
So here I am, asking the same Groundhog Day question I was asking not so long ago after terror had struck another city. What do we do, as regular everyday people who are going about our regular everyday lives in a completely irregular fitting world? How do we manage things without a double dose of Ambien or a permanent stay inside a fallout shelter?
I guess we just do it. Same as always.
We get up and we get going and we don’t wait on Superman to save our asses, because that dude went Hollywood. We treat street corners the same as airports, cafes the same as packed stadiums; by marrying our freedom of movement with an ever more keen awareness of our surroundings. And we do the things we did before, knowing full well that the only thing between us and the wolves at the door is God’s good graces. And that will have to suffice, because it’s really all we got.
Think on this horrible year in Britain. Be mindful of Paris, Spain, Boston, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Orlando and New York. And don’t blame Hemingway for being wrong. Because we already knew the world wasn’t a fine place, even if we still believe it’s a place worth fighting for. And don’t let the days we lose be an epitaph to the days in front of us. And if you were planning a European vacation, or a trip to the top of some skyscraper or a day in the city, or any other blessed thing that these scumbags are trying to steal away from us, by all means . . get there. And be mindful of that last line of defense.