Commentary: Don’t be terrorized

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francedawnfb-640x480The following has been reposted with permission from the blog of Rick Steves.

After Friday’s horrifying events in Paris, as we keep the victims and their families in our prayers and marvel at how violent hatred can express itself, it’s natural for those of us with travels coming up to wonder what is the correct response. Let me share my thoughts:

I have two fundamental concerns: what is safe, and what is the appropriate response to terrorism.

About safety, I believe this is an isolated incident. Tomorrow Paris will be no more dangerous than it was the day before that terrible Friday the 13th. I also believe that security in Paris and throughout Europe will be heightened in response to this attack. Remember: There’s an important difference between fear and risk.

About the right response to terrorism, I believe we owe it to the victims of this act not to let the terrorist win by being terrorized. That’s exactly the response they are hoping for. Sure, it’s natural for our emotions to get the best of us. But, especially given the impact of sensational media coverage, we need to respond intelligently and rationally.

In 2004, Madrid suffered a terrorist bombing in its Metro, which killed 191 and injured 1,800. In 2005, London suffered a similar terrorist bombing in its Tube system, killing 52 and injuring 700. These societies tightened their security, got the bad guys, and carried on. Paris will, too.

I’m sure that many Americans will cancel their trips to Paris (a city of 2 million people) or the rest of Europe (a continent of 500 million people), because of an event that killed about 150. As a result, ironically, they’ll be staying home in a country of 320 million people that loses over 30,000 people a year (close to 100 people a day) to gun violence.

Again, our thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Paris, the victims, and their loved ones. And it remains my firmly held belief that the best way for Americans to fight terrorism is to keep on traveling.

Rick Steves
Rick Steves

Rick Steves (www.ricksteves.com) writes European travel guidebooks and hosts travel shows on public television and public radio. Email him at rick@ricksteves.com and follow his blog on Facebook.

5 COMMENTS

  1. Have a pony in this race do you? Most of the deaths with guns in the USA are due to suicide. I am not afraid to travel; my profession had me all over the world for 30 years. I was born and raised in French Algiers; I just prefer spending my money and time in the USA, where I have the freedom to own a gun and protect myself.

  2. Yes, the United States I believe is the largest arms dealer in the world.

    Peace is still the only good idea.

    A thorough reading of the recently released Huffington Post classified US. government Drone Papers documents from our government makes one know beyond a doubt that civilised people sit at a table and discuss and talk and sort out their grievances and come to concensus for PEACE for all, rather than kill each other, torture each other or randomly bomb each other, including civilians and innocent people. We have a Geneva Convention and an International Court of Law. We have laws that EVERYONE is expected to follow.

    Give PEACE a chance is still a good idea. I am reminded of a line in the Bible, “Thou shalt not kill”……..So I believe there are many alternatives to the taking of lives by killing people. Thats what it means to be civilized………..

    Eisenhower had a grand quote regarding war, of which he was well informed……..”We must guard againt the acquisition of unwarrented influence , whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex.”……..military industrial complex, bigger now than ever, without a question………still looking for those “weapons of mass destructon”…….

    ……”.We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes..We should take nothing for granted.” Eisenhower

    …..democratic processes….for everybody!

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