This time it came too close to home. My son and daughter-in-law live close to Manchester and he, being a concert rigger, often works in the Arena. Fortunately, he wasn’t there last night. But he could have been.
My horror of the hate and violence that has washed over us has been a generic horror up until now. Violence born of hatred sickens me. I’m aware of the fear it instills in people, and I know that the fear itself is harmful to society.
Fear freezes us; we are unable to think, to react, to see things properly. Our limbic brain takes over, and all we want to do is flee. Fear makes some people aggressive, and they answer violence with more violence. I have been able to stay outside of the fear and see this for what it is: a tactic to manipulate us and fill us with the same fear and hatred the perpetrators have.
But last night’s violence taught me one thing: it could have been my child. And I don’t think I could have lived with that.
I still refuse to live in fear. Fear is the most crippling emotion I know. But I don’t know what to say to the mothers (and fathers) who have lost their children in this and similar attacks. My mind shuts down when I try to imagine how that must be. I want to crawl into a cave, put my hands over my ears, and shout, “No! Never!”
But let’s stay clear-eyed and -minded about this. The strategy of the bombings is to make us feel threatened. To cause us to live under a constant shadow of losing what is most dear to us. If we succumb to fear, they will win. And who exactly is ‘they’ by the way? That question is not as simple to answer as some people would like us to believe!
My heart breaks for all the mothers and fathers who lost dear ones during last night’s bombings. For them, I will continue to walk out, head held high, and not succumb to fear.