In light of what has been said by the besieged mayor of London in the last 24 hours, I feel like a new perspective is in order.
If we face the facts – that acts of terror and mayhem are accelerating in frequency – then in some small way we know that we have to accept this. There is terror in the world, it’s happening more and more, it’s getting worse. That IS reality. There is no harm in admitting that reality kind of sucks right about now.
In fact, there might be a positive to come out of admitting this to ourselves. When these attacks stop hitting up like a swift kick to the nads. Every. Single. Time. We might be able to move past them. I’m not saying we should become impervious to the human cost – that would be useless and it would dishonour the memories of those lost in these vile acts – I’m saying that if we can move past things, grieve later when there’s no more work to be done, then maybe we will stand a chance against the onslaught.
I’ve written a lot about using love and understanding to mediate this whole disastrous situation but I’m a realist as well as a pacifist. Sometimes you can’t stick to one ideology or one philosophical position. It’s okay to change when the situations change. That’s called adaptation. And it’s really hard to do if you deny the truth.
In Criminal Behaviour, I was taught that in most cases, the perceived risk of an individual being victimised is inversely proportioned to their actual risk of victimisation. This is not to say that just by freaking out and becoming super paranoid we are going to avert disaster. I noticed that in the last three major incidents (Manchester, London Bridge, Brighton) newspaper headlines read things like “This doesn’t happen here!”
Well. Obviously stuff like that does happen there. These events would be awful and shocking anywhere but when they occur in places that don’t usually experience them, we get hit harder. Terrorists are really good at this. If we are more prepared to accept what is happening, then our vigilance can go up without needing to panic. This acceptance is not defeat. The terrorists have not won. If we survive, then they lose.
There is no point denying that these events are terrifying. If they aren’t, then there is likely something pathologically wrong with you.
So no, we don’t want to admit that life is scary right now. Who on earth would want to admit that? And also no, admitting that does not mean that the terrorists have won. Admitting that we’re scared and we need to buckle down and survive so that we can fight to defend ourselves is just logical. If we accept this terrifying way of life we can possibly begin to live through it, not struck dumb every time something happens, and then we can begin to solve the problem like adults.