I've had a dozen people ask me the same question over the past two weeks. My answer each time has been a resounding, emphatic “no”.
It hasn't been a good few weeks for our friends in Europe. There was the truck attack in Nice, the shooting in Munich, the bombing in Ansbach, and then the hostage taking in a church yesterday near Rouen. We live on a volatile planet right now, and I'm guessing it's not gonna get any better any time soon . So I'm not surprised when those dozen people over the past two weeks have asked if I'm afraid to go over to Normandy next month. And I hope they're not surprised when I say “no”.
Just because there have been a couple of attacks around Europe doesn't mean that the entire continent is unsafe. That would be like saying you shouldn't go anywhere near Florida because of the two night club shootings in Orlando and Fort Myers this summer. Would you forego a trip to Disney because you're worried about being shot? Of course you wouldn't. And I'm not about to forego a trip to one of my favorite places in the world just because of truck attacks or knife attacks.
It's as safe in France as it is anywhere in the US. In some places, in fact, it's probably safer in France than it is in the U.S. But even if it wasn't, it wouldn't deter me from going. Why should I let some whack job with a whacked out agenda dictate what I do or how I live? If I wanna go to France (or to Germany, or Belgium, or anyplace other than my panic room) I'm gonna do it.
There are seven and a half billion people on the planet. Estimates say that there are at most 200,000 individuals with tendencies toward terrorism, mass killings, and/or anarchy. It seems like “we” outnumber “them” by a rather large number. And while I understand that, for a lot of people, the fear of what “they” might do causes anxiety and the need to stay within familiar surroundings, I'm not gonna let “them” make me change any places I wanna go or any dreams on my part.
I'm not gonna let “them” win.
You're free to keep asking if I'm worried about going to France next month, but I'm just gonna keep giving you the same answer. No, I'm not. I'm not afraid of going to France next month, nor am I afraid to go to Germany or wherever it is we may end up next year. I understand if you get spooked by the thought of doing it, but I'm not gonna stop traveling, going to places I like, seeing friends old & new, and learning more about the world in which we live.
There are bad people wherever you go, from the smallest town in the U.S. to the largest city in France. But there are so many more good people willing to share their lives, their stories, and their favorites places with you that it makes it worth whatever small risks there might be. And that's what makes going to new places worth it, at least for me.