Another terror attack in London and the Hague sparked concerns for my family and raised the question of whether or not acts of terror alter our travel choices.
Terror in London, Knife Attack in the Hague
The last couple of days have brought terror to the streets of London and the Hague. On London Bridge, a convicted terrorist (who had served half of his 16-year term on terrorism charges) murdered unarmed civilians at the famous attraction and wounded others before being killed by police. He was wearing a fake suicide vest at the time.
In the Hague, a homeless man attacked three minors with a knife (all survived) before escaping into a shopping area and triggering a manhunt. This occurred just hours after London’s incident.
Proximity Has Brought This to Our Attention
We happened to be in Manchester, England at the time and had discussed going to London for the day. We’ve been down to the capitol plenty and were quite comfortable with an early train out and a late train back, we have a very specific route to see the sights and show them to our daughter, Lucy.
We would have almost certainly been near London Bridge with our daughter at some point in the day. It was one of those cases where we absolutely could have been in the area at the time of the attack and could have been victimized ourselves. Thankfully, we had skipped our day trip and were not even in the same city that day.
Sometimes It Changes Our Mind
Terror attacks at a tourist resort in Tunisia scuttled plans for us to visit some years ago and also shelved nearby Morocco. We’d always had a great time in Morocco but we didn’t recall feeling overly safe on our last visit so a follow-up after the attacks on tourists in North African neighbor, Tunisia, kept us from returning.
Paris has had a number of attacks on civilians as well. We hadn’t returned to the city of lights in many years and part of it was due to unrest. The other part was paté – I’ll pass. For some time it seemed the news coming out of Paris was either masked, yellow-vested protestors throwing things at police or civilians running from terror events. That’s a vast overgeneralization, but it wasn’t just in the back of our minds, it was in the forefront.
Sometimes It Doesn’t
Manchester, England was the site of a terror attack at an Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena a few years ago. We were guarded when we last returned last year but found excellent safety measures in place and plenty of security. Our familiarity with the destination may have been a factor.
We certainly aren’t afraid of moving through territories that have been recently unsafe, I took a mileage run to Hong Kong a few weeks ago and it was fine. However, I am quite certain that many are avoiding the city now for the same fears of hostility and proximity to violence.
I also live in the United States and while foreign terrorism hasn’t been as applicable lately, domestic terrorism has. That said, I still travel to places where acts of violence have taken place, like Odessa, TX and Chicago which has had serious issues with gun violence.
For my family, it’s a mixed bag. We aren’t signing up to visit Iran any time soon as Matthew has (though that seems to be mostly safe right now) but we also aren’t avoiding places where terrorism or civil unrest is active. We try to be vigilant and aware, but unafraid. There are always moments where we realize things could have gone worse for us, like our skipped day trip to London this week, or when a British Airways 777 caught fire in Las Vegas a week after we made our only emergency landing. We count our blessings and take nothing for granted.
What do you think? Do you avoid places where terror has taken place or your safety may be at risk? What are your deciding factors?