Terrorism is not defined by country, race or religion.
Terrorist – a person who uses terrorism in the pursuit of political aims.
The above is often confused by:
Act of Terrorism – calculated use of violence (or threat of) against civilians to cause bodily harm.
Truths About Terrorism
- It’s a global epidemic. Some nations might be graded “safer” than others but every nation across the globe is at some risk.
- Many terrorists are not foreigners but rather homegrown nut cases a.k.a “lone wolves”, code for WMN (White Male Nutters).
- Likelihood of dying in an act of terrorism is 1 in 20 million.
- Chance of dying in US Gunfire is 1 in 32,500.
- The media loves to scare the shit out of us – it’s good for ratings.
- If you give into irrational fear – the terrorists win.
I am reminded of Acts of Terrorism almost every day. Every time I enter an airport, board a plane, take a train (especially through Madrid), book a concert ticket or plan new travel….I feel a bit of apprehension.
Last weekend, I was in Amsterdam. The Rolling Stones were playing. I pondered getting last-minute tickets and then hesitated. Manchester had crept into my thoughts. In the end…I didn’t go. But only because the tickets were crazy expensive.
The same nagging apprehension was there when trying to plan a 4-day getaway in December. I want to take the kids to a European Christmas Market and found myself wondering if the markets would be a target. These nagging thoughts are fleeting and they don’t keep me home – they motivate me to book the tickets.
I choose to live life to my fullest capabilities and to expose my children to other cultures through first hand experiences whenever I can. Terrorism be damned.
I am fortunate enough to have been born into a democratic society that values peaceful freedom of expression. One that supports women’s rights and gay rights. Diversity doesn’t scare me, it intrigues me. Thus, I’m a pretty good Ambassador. The education I get from travelling is an invaluable gift. I’m grateful for all I’ve seen and learned.
Yet, I know that I’m still just scraping the surface. There is still so much to see, to do and to learn. We live on a beautiful and intriguing planet that is filled with fascinating people.
Transcending borders and mixing with other cultures is a powerful way to learn about humanity. Only by travelling and interacting with other cultures do you truly learn how few differences exist among us. It’s fascinating to find our similarities often far outweigh our differences. We are all human and on a whole…. we humans aren’t so bad. Most of us are compassionate loving souls that just want to live in peace.
- Be vigilant and practice situational awareness.
- Don’t stand in open areas. If possible try to be elevated.
- Scan airport lounges, and tourist attractions like Jason Bourne. Know where the exits are.
- Avoid public transit. This is a personal choice. I actually hate public transport and avoid it like the plague. I also find taxi drivers to be a wealth of knowledge. However, some travelers love the local transit systems and the price point. Bottom line: taxis are the safer choice.
- Skip demonstrations and rallies – Cross the road, and find an alternate route. These are often politically based and not worth the possible danger.
- Don’t stand next to stationary vehicles.
- Respect cultural norms.
- Know how to identify a local police officer.
- Before visiting a country – do a bit of homework. Avoid places with any civil unrest.
- Try to visit a ‘recovering’ city – your business is important for their recovery.
- Have good insurance – Murphy’s Law: if you have it you won’t need it. And, if you do have a crisis….it’s well worth it.
- Talk to people – Ask questions but more importantly……. listen to the answers.
In most cases: kindness begets kindness……😉
My heart breaks for the Act of Terrorism that occurred in Las Vegas. I’m sorry for the parents who lost children, and for children who lost parents. I’m sorry for those that can no longer wake up in the arms of their lovers. The victims all deserved better. x
The article below will help restore your belief in humanity.