The Elephant in the Room: terror in the streets

I hesitate to write this post.  As the Good Natured Traveler, I prefer to view the world through rose-colored glasses.  I believe that most of the time, our expectations influence the events that we experience.  Self-fulfilling prophecy.

But in light of the awful events that we have seen and heard around the world, it seems that bad things can happen.  Bad things do sometimes happen.

“Every time you go somewhere, there’s a tragedy, it seems!”, my sister wrote following the Las Vegas, Canadian and French killings this past Autumn.

Is that true?

Two weeks following our trip to Turkey, there was the terrorist attack in front of the Blue Mosque,  where we reveled in the exotica of the area.

Another one occurred in the Istanbul airport where we’d spent several hours waiting for a connection–how scary to imagine the scenario.

Just two weeks following our trip to Paris, there was attack at the nightclub followed by the bombing in St. Denis, where I’d marveled that Marie Antoinette lay these many centuries.  (I”d hurt my knee and could not have crawled out of harm’s way, had I needed to.)

We had Irish coffee just across the street from the London Bridge attacks—only a month before that first hit.  Too close for comfort.

I’m not superstitious, but it definitely makes me pause with wonder. Do we jinx the places we go?  or  Are there that many crazies in the world and our visits are examples of good timing?

So very disturbing—yet most of the travel blogs that I read, make no mention of trepidation of travel in these troubled times.  Of course not— I get it: Who wants to hear about it when you are planning a trip?  The news inundates us already—and to contemplating bad scenarios could be self-fulfilling as well.

But– Perhaps the best thing is to face the possibility that these are troubled times.
Perhaps it’s a good idea to take precautions that make good sense.

Scott Smith, is a sergeant on the police force at Miami University–he’s also my brother.   His masters thesis was about countries who live and make provisions for terrorist activities in their everyday lives.

Proactive thoughts:

      • Avoid large crowds when possible
      • Stay on the edges of the crowd
      • Avoid well-known tourist spots
      • Take taxis rather than the underground metro
      • Form alliances ahead of time, if possible.  If you know people, those people might be able to help you.
      • Have meeting places– in case you get separated from your partner or group
      • Situation awareness:
        • Look for escape routes
        • Ask yourself,  “Ok, If it happens, what would I do?”
        • Look for cover ahead of time: Concrete berms, steel pillars, etc… and keep these things between you and it, if trouble comes.
        • Look behind you—often– you can use your phone on “selfie mode” if you want to check, without seeming obvious

Taking it to a survivalist level, Scott suggests::

  • Have a working knowledge of emergency techniques and proper bandages
  • Avoid well-known tourist spots
  • Take taxis rather than the underground metro
  • Form alliances ahead of time, if possible.  If you know people, those people might be able to help you.
  • Have escape plans—meeting places– in case you get separated from your partner or group
  • Situation awareness:
  • Fill the bathtub with water at hotels—just in case… (emergencies; fires;)

rddusa.com

Self-defense and life-saving courses just might save your life—or someone else’s.  And so, I am deciding not to trade my good nature for a fearful one.  But I am listening and looking around more, in case… just in case.

PS

Crazy as it seems, this is my horoscope for today:

“…you must be careful or you could miss a hazard in the road ahead. Thankfully, there is a simple remedy to your dilemma: keep one eye on the rearview mirror and the other on the path in front of you. Time traveling in your mind expands your perspective and gives you more choices in the present moment.”

(and yet–traveling has re-stored my faith in humanity and trust… check out:  Kindness in the Subways)

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