What to say about the Paris massacre that hasn’t already been said? I’m finding it difficult to find the words to convey the mounting sense of shock and horror that I felt as I watched the evening’s events unfold on television. I can’t even begin to imagine the trauma that those directly affected are feeling.
I try to look at these things unemotionally. Mathematically speaking, the odds are in our favour. If you live in a stable Western democracy, chances are that you will never be caught up in a random attack.
But even the most rational human could not totally rid themselves of the nagging doubt, the fear that you could be one of those people who are later described as “being in the wrong place at the wrong time”. There’s always a slight possibility that a routine shopping trip, a visit to the cinema, or the commute to work can turn tragic in the blink of an eye.
I am comforted by the many acts of kindness that were reported in the immediate aftermath. The Parisians who opened up their homes for stranded people. The taxi drivers who took people home for free. Cities are imperfect places in many ways, but at times like this the anonymous mass of people somehow always seems to coalesce into an impromptu support network.
Paris will recover, and carry on – just as London, New York, Mumbai and countless other places have had to do. The only alternative is for everyone to hide under the bed and never come out – although admittedly, telecommuting and online grocery shopping makes this a very feasible option these days.
But carrying on can wait for a day or two. In the meantime, let us all honour and mourn those whose lives have been cut short so brutally.
St George's Hall in Liverpool lights up in solidarity with Paris pic.twitter.com/7aVkBoAVo7
— Liverpool Echo (@LivEchonews) November 14, 2015