Traditionally a food blog, today I am moved by the events in Manchester and am using this post to share my fears.
Last week my 6 year old son came home from school telling me the class had a special visit from The Danger Squad. I asked him what he learnt and he said “what to do if you find a gun Mummy”. I was aghast. Literally gob smacked. “Get down and roll away”, he said. I’m not sure if this was the exact guidance he received, but how is my six year old being versed in how to deal with fire arms? Why is he even exposed to this topic? But given the events last night, I have to say, I’m grateful. Our babies will not be afforded the freedom we had as children. And while the wonders of the world have become so much more accessible to the average family, so have the horrors. And I don’t know where it ends. I’m terrified. Genuinely, I am starting to get a little nervous doing usual things like going on holiday, visiting my wonderful capital city, or even going to Bluewater. Things that we normally take for granted have suddenly become more trepidatious. Make no mistake, it won’t stop me. I won’t let the terror control my life. Not for now anyway, but I genuinely wonder, what next? Clearly there are no lines drawn. Bombing a pop concert has one outcome. Dead children.
My husband has very strong views on terror and politics, and is quite often labelled as a nazi or a racist, which upsets me so much because – categorically – he is not. He is one of the most kind hearted men I know and what he wants is a safe future for our son. Is that so bad? Actually, I feel very strongly myself that English culture and heritage is being diminished by those – whether immigrants or religious extremists – who are not respectful of our laws and customs. I respect a difference of opinion. I respect all faiths and religions. I respect all races. And I have no problem with helping people in need. As a human being, seeing babies drown because of over filled lifeboats is heinous. But here is the question, and it’s not an easy one to stomach; what if we are helping people to the detriment of our own country, our own communities, our own children? Of course everyone wants to be magnanimous enough to say that shouldn’t matter, but it does. Because when events like Manchester happen, it touches people’s lives. Our children’s lives. And nothing is more precious. It’s fine to consider acts of terror as an abstract but as a reality? How accepting are we then? Personally, I have shielded myself thus far, choosing not to watch too much news or read the books and publications my husband does, because I won’t sleep. Which is selfish actually. And some may say ignorant. I would argue that – thus far – I have viewed it as self preservation. But honestly, there’s no ignoring it anymore. The horror of what our babies maybe exposed to, causes my heart to ache. But today I think of the parents of those kids in Manchester. That their hearts are not just damaged, they are shattered. No words can console or help them.
If events like this continue then major civil unrest is surely closer than we realise. It is already occurring in pockets across the country. I also fear for those peaceful, law abiding, community spirited muslims who are now fearful of backlash. Unfortunately, the actions of the few are labelling the many, and that is very, very wrong. People are genuinely angry and rightly so, but fighting violence with violence will make us all savages. And what lesson does that teach our children? I am by no means a perfect parent and my son has been exposed to some language and violent scenes in films that perhaps he shouldn’t have, but there is fiction and there is reality. And generally, the level of violence amongst children and teens terrifies me. Not wholly due to acts of terror but certainly, our children are exposed to graphic violence and horrific images unlike anything we have known, even as adults. And they are so young. I literally want to keep my son by my side for the rest of his life, but even then he won’t be safe, will he. So what is the answer?
I’m full of questions and have no answers. I know there is not a simple solution. I think what I’m looking for is reassurance that others feel the same way and want change. I’m nervous about this post because I don’t want my views to be misconstrued. I’m not a racist or a political advocate. What I am is a mother. A horrified mother. A horrified human. So I am willing to listen now, because I have to. After all, my son’s life skills are already superseding my own. I don’t actually know exactly what to do if I find a fire arm in the park. Do you?