Posted by / Category London, Politics /

Sorry, but today I am going to rant a bit. After all, I am not French for nothing, right?

So here it is: I know I shouldn’t be scared, that life goes on, and so on, and so forth, but I can’t help it, I am scared. Worse: I feel like a sitting duck.

I walk or run all the time. I take the Tube, the bus and the train. My kids do too. I used to feel reasonably safe in London, but not any more. In fact, I feel like an easy target. I have read everywhere that terrorism remains a negligible risk, that I am more likely to be struck by lightning than to be the victim of a terrorist attack, and that we are probably just more aware of terrorism, which is why we feel the hurt and the pain more. But still, I am scared. Truth be told, the recent attacks in the UK and in France haven’t helped. As for what just happened in Las Vegas, I don’t think that I have fully processed it yet. It’s just too much.

Instead of explaining to me about probabilities and other rational arguments, hear this: on 7th of July 2005 I was on the tube. I was just coming back from maternity leave. I had to be evacuated. I was lucky: I wasn’t on the train that was bombed, but it was a close call. What do probabilities mean when you are in the middle of an attack? I’ll tell you at once: it means nothing. I just felt lucky to be alive and see my baby at the end of the day.

How can I do something about things that I can’t control? I really don’t know, and it is frustrating to feel so powerless. Look at what happened in Marseille a few days ago: two bright young women, one aspiring nurse and one aspiring physician were stabbed by a deranged extremist who had never achieved anything. Had they survived, they could have saved many lives, have families, taught aspiring nurses and doctors, but they won’t, because their lives have been cut short by a brutal bully who probably thought that killing innocent women was fair game, or maybe even a duty. I think I am going to feel sick.

As for the lovely declarations of our politicians about the fact that we will stay strong, that it’s business as usual and that we will defeat the terrorists, well, I don’t buy it any more. You see, after a while and after such an increase of terror attacks, something needs to be done, and I don’t see it happening. Words don’t mean anything if they are not meant or followed by actions. Don’t get me wrong: I am all for solidarity and helping each others, but let’s face it: hashtag solidarity doesn’t achieve much, and right now it certainly doesn’t make me feel any safer.

The official advice, in the UK and in case of an attack, is to run, hide and tell. Does it make me feel in control? Absolutely not. Sorry to be blunt.

I am no politician, but it feels like France and the UK are losing the war on terror. I really wonder what I could do to feel safer. If you have any idea, please tell me.

Rant over.



  • Karen Nelson

    One of our politicians came out this morning with this: “People are just going to have to make themselves small.” He had preceded that comment by stating that there was nothing anyone could do. It’s harder here to get a box of Sudafed than it is to buy a gun or ammunition. This is not the America I thought my children would inherit.

    • It’s crazy, right? When did it become so easy to kill each other? I hope that things will get better. Right now, I am becoming more pessimistic.

  • Ronald

    I agree with the sentiments. Probability is irrelevant to your own and for that matter my circumstances. Also try telling that to…. Political platitudes are not relevant to me.
    One of my irrational anxieties is I feel substantial vibration especially in and around central London on the odd street and high level eg top floor John Lewis on Oxford Street where it felt like a minor permanent tremor but no one else noticed….It could all be to do with the underground building works or my imagination.

    What could you do to feel safer? Here are a few of MY thoughts – no urban living stick to out of town suburbs…why would anyone live in the centre of Manchester, Liverpool, Glasgow, Leeds etc when incidents can happen more easily and ensuing chaos plus worry for others. In the case of these cities some idiot? thinks its smart to move the main police stations away from the city centres.
    If you can afford to live in Central London good! – as you may be able to walk to work and school. In terms of transport all I can say is I feel safer in crowds then alone especially in strange areas anywhere especially in London where I prefer Underground to Rail and North of Thames to South.
    Avoid bridges especially on foot!
    I suspect in your case, you are only scared when not busy, distracted or entertained!
    Spare a thought for the unemployed/old who watch and believe daytime TV and so believe the world is evil and full of rip-off merchants, They may be right.

    • It’s really hard to know what to do. I don’t want to live like a recluse but at the same time I can’t help being scared. When does it get easier?
      I wish you all the best.

  • Alistair P D Bain

    A great post that honestly states the feelings of the voiceless. Yes, we need more than fine words, meaningless reassurance and empty rhetoric from our politicians.

    • It’s really scary. I have no idea what to do, and I hope that things will get better in time.

  • snoflake

    Official advice should be : Stand on The Line. It’s been done before.

    • Not sure it would reassure me…