What would you do if you suddenly heard gunshots outside of your window?
Last night I returned to London after a wonderful weekend in southern England. I stayed with family members in central London near London Bridge, where just two weeks ago a knife-wielding terrorist went on a rampage, killing seven and wounding 48.
My family lives in a ground floor apartment with a nice backyard garden. We had the backdoor and windows open, enjoying the late evening sunset, fresh breeze, and tranquility of a quiet summer evening.
We heard a pop. Just one pop. We looked at each other and continued eating.
Suddenly gunfire erupted. We saw flashes of lights. Instinctively, we all hit the deck. We shut and locked the patio door, closed the windows, and turned all the lights off. Huddling in the hallway (away from windows), we called the police, who promised to send someone. The gunfire continued for at least 40 seconds, with a dozen or so rounds fired. It sounded like it was just outside.
This was not firecrackers or fireworks. No, this was definitely gunfire.
Fifteen minutes passed and we noticed that everything appeared normal. We noticed people were walking on the street outside. Whatever it was, seemed to be over. The police never showed up at the apartment: I trust they were nearby.
Tired after a long weekend, we retired for the evening. I woke up this morning to alerts on my phone that there was a terrorist attack last night in London about four miles away from us. Another vehicle attack, this time a maniac plowing into Islamic worshippers who were celebrating Iftar together after a long Ramadan fast.
It is unlikely the two events were related.
I had nightmares last night.
One dream imagined my wife widowed and my son without a father. This was not Syria or Yemen, this was a residential neighborhood in London.
I booked a roundabout trip home that you read about earlier today: I’m tempted to change it. I want to get home and hug my wife and son immediately. But I am going to leave the trip as is. By principle I simply cannot let fear dictate action. It is not “love” to skip work: work is a labor of love in providing for the ones that I love.
So on to Belgrade it is. But I eagerly await getting home.