I have always considered Melbourne a very safe place to live. Well… yesterday, for the first time in my almost 5 years in this beautiful city, I felt scared. Maybe the word ‘scared’ is too strong, what I was feeling while walking up and down the CBD streets was more like a deep angst.
Recent events in NYC where five Argentinian friends lost their lives in what I can only describe as a soulless attack, deeply affected my perception of safety. When I feel scared of dying, I always think “The ONLY thing that needs to happen for you to die is being alive, and you are…so when it’s your time, IT IS your time, don’t waste your energy worrying about it”. And normally it works. But yesterday was different.
Early this year, on January 20th a mentally ill man drove into pedestrians, taking the lives of six innocent people, right at the heart of Melbourne. And not long ago, a similar situation occurred in London, Spain and France. These attacks are happening everywhere, and it scares the hell out of me! It’s like my idea of being safe is just an illusion while the reality is that nobody is, (which it has always been the case)! In my mind, Australia was not only physically far away from everything but also, we were isolated from the conflict – oh what an idyllic thing to think!
I admire the people in NYC who despite the horrible events did not allow the bad guys to bring down their spirit, their tenacity, their hope for a better place and rather, went out to celebrate life like all of us should do while we have the chance.
Yesterday while walking at a very speedy pace towards the station I stopped and thought: I can’t do this. I can’t start being afraid of going out to the CBD thinking that there is a small chance a car will come out of nowhere and start running people over. That’s what they want, they want to induce terror, they want us to be afraid of them and I refuse to let that happen. So, although some part of me wanted to run away to the safety of my home, I slowed down and did what an NYC-29-year-old would do, I did some shopping.