Like most people across our planet, I was again saddened by the senseless killing and maiming of so many people in what is a beautiful city. Like many, I have visited and enjoyed Barcelona. Like many I have wandered aimlessly around the streets without thinking I was in danger. I tweeted this picture yesterday; I am also aware of how futile a gesture it was but I had to express my support for a fine European city.
So do we need to change our behaviour in the light of terrorists attacking ‘soft’ targets?
In the military we were always on the look out for people acting suspiciously, especially during the IRA’s reign of terror in Northern Ireland, Germany and mainland UK. It was called Sharkwatch and tended to be used when socialising.
Is it time to introduce something similar into our lives? Should we now routinely expect a member of tourist groups in the UK or abroad – whether family or friends – to be alert to things out of the ordinary? Can we expect people without any relevant training to even think about their safety when out and about in a place they should be able to relax in? Are we subconsciously doing it already? Probably not, but it’s worth conserving all the same.
It’s a hangover from my military career, but I am constantly profiling people when I am in unfamiliar environments. It pays to be prepared. I guess we call it people watching. It’s what so many of us like to do. Instead we need to do it within the context of the current terror threat. There will be more attacks. We have to accept that we could be caught up in something, but the statistics don’t lie; the chances of being involved in a terrorist incident are very low.
So caution is the watchword. Balanced with our right to relax and enjoy ourselves. Coupled with a faith in authorities that they have done everything they can to minimise the opportunities for terrorists to strike. There’s a lot to think about this summer.
Ok, back to the book…