Traveling in a Time of Terror
Shortly after the London bombings I took a trip down to Sydney, Australia. I didn’t think much of it at the time. People usually associate Australia with peace. No worries, right?
Unfortunately, no such luck. The last day I was there I had taken the train out to Sydney Olympic Park. It was a peaceful, lovely day until I had to evacuate the station. The train had received a bomb threat.
My first thought was panic. Get me out of here as quickly as possible. I don’t care where I go. I don’t care how I get there, but get me out! I’ll give it to you; composure wasn’t a word befitting me at the time.
My friends, on the other hand, were more annoyed than worried. They were more preoccupied with the inconvenience than the suspicious bag that was under investigation.
The police ushered us out of the station as quickly as possible and formed a perimeter around the building. They weren’t keen on answering our questions; they just kept motioning us on, encouraging us to keep our distance. Soon the perimeter was expanded and traffic was re-routed. The situation seemed to go from cautious to serious very quickly.
There have been a lot of scares like this going around lately all over the world. Bomb threats here, suspicious items there. In a time like this it would be easy to curl up in your house, lock the door tight, and never leave. At least you’d be safe then, right?
It’s unfortunate the case we’ve all been put in. We are all so anxious to see the world, but when we leave home, our mums and dads are sitting there, biting their nails, wondering what bad thing will happen next? Since everyone wants to be safe, should we all just stay home?
While some may disagree with me, I think staying home is the wrong course of action. The last thing people need to do is be scared back into their little holes. Yes, terrorism is frightening. Yes, it is something to be considered. But at the same time, it is not something that should control our lives.
Traveling in a time of terror is not impossible or ignorant. It simply requires a degree of caution and common sense. Chances are you will venture off into the world and come home without as much as a scrape on your knee, but on the rare chance that you do come across a possibly dangerous situation here are some pointers to help you through.
One, don’t be like me and panic! Despite the common misconceptions, panicking, yelling, crying, and/or shrieking will not make you get anywhere safer faster. You’re legs will move at the same speed if not slower when you act so disorderly. All your freaking out will accomplish is more chaos, and the last thing you need during a bomb threat is more chaos.
Two, listen to the authorities. They know the situation and the best place for you to go. Don’t ask them thousands of questions about what’s going on. Your life is more important than being informed about the details. They’ll tell you what you need to know and at that point you simply have to trust that they know what’s best. Keep moving along and don’t slow the traffic down. For evacuations to be successful they must be quick and orderly, so shut your trap and keep walking.
Three, treat the situation seriously. While it’s not good to panic, it’s not good to laugh it off either. Yes, it can be an inconvenience. Yes, it’s probably nothing. But the motto, “Better safe than sorry,” has never been applied more appropriately than now.
The world has some fantastic places. We should not frighten ourselves out of seeing them. Be smart, be cautious, but be gone. There’s a world out there waiting for you.