If someone wants badly enough to hurt us, they will.
There was a time when I believed such things only happened to other people, but it was very long ago.
For there to be an attack in Paris on the same day I discussed the Reign of Terror with my students has me reeling. Barbarism and ruthlessness are not limited to certain eras or populations. History repeats itself and the streets are stained with blood.
And we cannot truly be safe. This conviction doesn’t make me reckless: I wear my seatbelt, lock my doors, eat my veggies. But when suggestions for safety impinge on the life I want to live – avoid certain neighborhoods! Don’t go out at night! Don’t talk to strangers! – I refuse to sacrifice liberty for security.
This is neither bravery nor despair: this is realism.
With each tragedy I become more firm in my message that we all have to be better in order to heal our world. I don’t say this to be a scold or a nag but because what are our other options?
We can’t hate our way out of this. Maybe we can’t love our way out either, but if those are our options, I side with love.
You will be urged tonight to hug your children tighter. By all means, do so, but don’t limit your reaction to simply being glad that your family was spared, this time. Consider how you, in your time and place, can work to heal the world.
And if you feel, like I do, that perfect safety is definitively out of reach, embrace your imperfect safety and live each day so ferociously that you feel proud and complete at the end of each day.
Pray for Paris.