As a child, I did flips on a trampoline, splashed in a creek and climbed as high as possible in trees. As an adult, it’s hard not to see trampoline as leg-breaking machines, creeks as spots for nasty bacteria to grow, and the very idea of jumping out of a tree as frightening.
Part of growing up is learning more about the dangers around us. And it makes us fearful. However, those “dangerous” things themselves haven’t changed. Just because I read about a terrible bacteria in a creek doesn’t mean my childhood creek is now unsafe — it’s the same as it’s always been, I just know more. And I struggle with being afraid of it now.
It happens in the world around us. Orlando is no less safe today than it was a month ago. Yet for some reason, people are freaking out about whether or not they should still go to Disney World. But Orlando hasn’t changed and Disney World hasn’t changed.
The not-so-comforting truth is that the recent alligator attack is not Disney’s first. Or second. Or third. Or fourth. And who knows how many more stories there are. You just happen to know about it now because of social media.
Orlando was and is very low on the terrorist radar. And it’s very unlikely to be targeted again anytime soon. News is news because it’s rare. If mass shootings were happening every day in Orlando, it would eventually not be on the news anymore (and I wouldn’t recommend you go there). But they aren’t. It’s a rare, tragic, and (hopefully) one-time incident.
If anything, now might be the safest time to go due to increased security.
News is news because it’s rare.
Don’t let them win. The goal of a terrorist is fear; there are countless empty threats made on a regular basis to places like Disney World with the goal of fear. When they do lash out, they hope to make people afraid. Of course, fear is a natural response. For a moment. And then you must let it go.
Do not let a terrorist rule your life. Or an alligator, for that matter.
There are things you can do though:
- Mourn with and for those who have been affected.
- Speak out against the wrong that was done.
- Learn from it what you can to keep yourself safe.
- And then KEEP LIVING. You have to keep living.
The world hasn’t changed that much. But the news has. It’s no longer only for those who turn it on their TVs at a certain time or buy a newspaper. No, it’s filling your phone, computer and conversation without you even trying to find it. It’s constantly on your social media, your homepage and your favorite blogs.
We know so much more now than ever before. While the world hasn’t changed much, our knowledge has. And we believe the world to be more dangerous because of it.
The sad truth is that tragedy can happen anywhere to anyone. Traveling to most cities is no more dangerous than living in your own. You can only do your best to stay safe, wherever you are.
It’s hard to go back to blissful ignorance. It’s hard to thoughtlessly climb up a tree or jump into a creek once you know about the dangers. It’s hard to go to Orlando and have the same sense of security you may have once had. But you do it. Because the day you let fear rule your life is the day you stop living.
And you have to keep living.