Sunday, June 4, 2017

London and Safety

I guess I have to address this now.

About 24 hours ago I checked my phone and saw a news notification saying there'd been an incident at London Bridge. I thought to myself, "Is this just an old notification? Why am I seeing this?"

Although there have been many incidents in England in the last few months, this notification was unfortunately not an accidental repeat. Around 10pm London time there was a terrorist attack on London Bridge and the nearby Borough Market. People died and many were injured by men who were eventually killed by police.

In March, a terrorist attack occurred over at the Westminster Bridge in London, and two weeks ago there was an explosion at an Ariana Grande concert up north in Manchester.

Every time one of these attacks happens, I can hear my mother in my head, saying, "Are you really going to go to London?"

If you are a parent, you probably understand why I say that. Although my mother might not say that directly to my face, she's probably been thinking it for 24 hours. Why would my daughter want to go to an area of the world where another terrorist attack could happen at any time? Even with the increased police presence, this kind of attack happened again!

It is scary, yes. I have talked to myself about misgivings over my trip. Someone this morning at church encouraged me to have a good time and be careful about the terrorists! That's really not something I want to have on my mind!

So will I skip England? Absolutely not.

If you watch any aftermath video and interviews from victims or people closely associated with an area struck by terrorism, one thing is usually mentioned: we'll keep going. People don't want terrorism to ruin their daily lives. So even if something happens, they keep going. (I believe the sentiment encouraged by Winston Churchill during the Blitz was "Keep Calm and Carry On.")

I'm not going to let terrorist attackers interfere with my vacation. I'm not going to allow them the pleasure. I'm going to fly to London, enjoy every minute, explore the English countryside, enjoy every minute of that, and then go to Germany and the Czech Republic and enjoy every minute of that.

That's not to say I'm not going to be vigilant. In watching videos on travel, it was always encouraged to be aware of your surroundings. Don't assume everything is perfect - be on your guard. I don't anticipate walking down any shady alleys or into any dangerous pubs. I stay on the main streets, I inhabit all the common areas, and I enjoy the company of all the people around me while always keeping in mind who is around me.

I look forward to talking to the people of London and seeing how they have gotten stronger. You don't see them moving away from the city or hiding in their homes. When I saw aftermath interviews today there were people still walking around and going about their lives. CNN even wrote a headline that said, "Londoners Determined To Not Be Terrorized After Attacks." I admire those people.

It's okay to feel a bit of fear, but just make sure to read Luke 12:22-34 as well. I go into this trip with an intelligent head on my shoulders - a head that will keep me aware of my circumstances and keep me vigiliant of my surroundings. But I also go in knowing that God has His plan marked out for me, and I let God take the worry.

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