Before I start, my prayers go out to the people in Brussels. As we were returning from a popular vacation spot in this country, we saw images of the bombing attack of the airport in Brussels, Belgium, while sitting in an Arby’s. I am not a military strategist; I say that because I am not an expert on this issue. I have heard terminology used during my fire service career, as well as by watching the same news stations that you may watch. Airports, like many other locations around the world, would be considered a soft target for someone to attack. In other words, it has little to do with the military or government, but contains many people in a centralized location and if destroyed or damaged, will disrupt people’s lives. In this case, it caused the lockdown of a city, killed and injured many people and caused a major disruption to the travel infrastructure in that part of the world. We are at war. The enemies, in this war, are those who seek to instill so much fear in people, that they would be willing to alter their lifestyle because of it.
Getting back to where we just came from, there were people everywhere. I would consider the entire place a soft target, but more specifically, we went to a sold out event, during our stay. What I have come to realize is that terrorists are subject to strike anywhere. We were at this event the other night, with our two-and-a-half-year-old grandson and our five-and-a-half-month-old granddaughter. I did not go with terrorism on my mind. Instead, I got to see the wonder and amazement in my grandson’s eyes, as he watched horses and riders do amazing things. We cannot live in fear, but we must live with a heightened sense of awareness.
We live in a world where a contingency plan is necessary and our police need to be given everything that they need to do their jobs. I listened to the debate over whether the phones of the terrorists in San Bernardino should be opened and made available to the FBI. This is my belief: if a person or persons are intent on hurting or killing people and they have been apprehended before the crime or determined to have committed the crime after-the-fact, then they give up those rights. Yes, a person is innocent until proven guilty, but I am not talking about decent, law-abiding people. We must cooperate with authorities and be willing to provide them with the information that they need.
Flying has become much more difficult, post September 2001. It is only a problem to those who wait for the last-minute to do anything or have something to hide. Airfares have increased, due to the measures that have had to be instituted to insure your safety and mine. I do not mind being inconvenienced to insure a greater measure of security. The news reported that Belgium was an easy target because of the fragmentation of its society. This attack justifies bomb-sniffing dogs in every major airport around the world.
I do not have the answers, but only a few suggestions to this dilemma. We should make it a point to know our neighbors. Suspicious things need to be reported to the appropriate authorities. When we go places, we need to be mindful of our surroundings. You should know where the exits are and have a contingency plan, whether faced with an active shooter, caught in a bombing, or in a building that is on fire. Keep in mind; people that will blow themselves up for any cause are beyond dangerous. As you travel this world and live your life, maintain a watchful eye. Over the last five days, I witnessed a lot of people who were out for themselves. The more that we isolate ourselves from others, the more likely are the opportunities for bad things to happen, right under our noses, or next door to our homes. Be aware.