I just had lunch today with a former colleague who said he’d been thinking of taking a trip to see a Christmas market in Germany.
“Maybe not now,” he said, referring to yesterday’s tragic attack in Berlin, where 12 people were killed and many more innocent people injured by a maniac with no respect for human life. “Too many soldiers with guns now.”
I see his point. And it’s an easy one to make. It’s also the wrong approach.
Because if we stop travelling, the terrorists win. And I’m not going to let that happen.
I’m not going to jump on the next plane to Berlin or Zurich or Ankara. But only because I’m staying home for Christmas. If I DID have plans to go to Germany tomorrow, I’d be the first guy on the plane. Not because I’m not afraid of dying at some level but because my desire to stand up to terrorists is stronger than my need to protect myself from potential attack.
I don’t want to make it sound like I’m some kind of cock-eyed heroic type. I’m far from that. But I refuse to sit at home and be cowered by misguided folks who would do harm to innocent people shopping at a Christmas market or attending a parade or sitting in a church or a mosque.
I wrote about this in the pages of the Dallas Morning News a couple months back. Sadly, the same thoughts crossed my mind today. And they might cross my mind again soon. In fact, I’m pretty sure they will. But I can’t let that stop me from packing my bags and seeing the world. It shouldn’t stop you, either.
Take precautions where you can and where you must. But do the world – and yourself – a favour. Stand up to these cowards, these people who distort the teachings of a centuries-old, peaceful religion and twist it to their own terrible, disgraceful ends. Go where you want to go. Go freely. Mix and mingle with locals and with people who might think differently than you. Eat foreign food. Smile at strangers.
Don’t cancel your trip to Berlin or Paris or Zurich or Turkey. Or Cleveland or Calgary for that matter. Keep travelling. In an increasingly insane world, it’s a small way of standing up for what’s right.