Without mentioning specifics a friend has a close relation attending school in Paris, and as you might expect the post-massacre vibe (armed soldiers everywhere, people being being randomly asked for ID) has made the student feel rattled. I responded as follows:
“The idea that you might one day be sipping your cappuccino on rue d’Abesses when all of a sudden a hailstorm of bullets shatters the place and possibly ends your life…devastating. But you have to push on. Death eternally hovers but who allows notions of obliteration to dictate what they do or think? There’s only one rule or command, and that is to persist and sing and dance and explore and create as if we had a thousand or ten thousand years of life. It’s horrible but what else is there to do?
“After Charlie Hebdo a vague expectation that terror might strike again was in the air over there, I’m sure, but nobody obsessed about it. I was in Paris last May before Cannes, walking everywhere and scootering around, and it was absolutely wonderful. Life went on. Life will always go on. What’s the difference between those who died last Friday and those who didn’t? Luck and fast reflexes. You can’t bestow luck and you can’t teach people to have fast reflexes, so what is there to do? It’s a ghastly situation but death hovers any way you slice it. I’m repeating myself.
“Of course, a parent doesn’t want to hear existential shit like this. A parent just wants his/her children to be safe from the horror and to thrive and live a long & robust life. With all my heart I wish that for your kids as I do for mine.”