Thursday, May 25, 2017

Impossible to express - How does a parent sit a child down and explain terrorism - A ReadItTorial

James O'Brien, LBC Presenter after the Manchester bombing on Monday night

When we woke up after a fairly fitful night's sleep on Tuesday morning this week, it was again to the most horrific news. A terrorist attack at a music event in Manchester left 22 dead with the majority of that number children who'd attended the concert.

I was left numb by the news, but like most parents who probably woke up to the same thing, felt like the only thing to do at home was carry on with the preparations for an ordinary school day.

We had to mute the radio (we usually listen to Radio 2 every morning as we get ready for work and school) and of course any change in behaviour is always picked up on by Charlotte who started asking questions. What had happened, who was involved? Why would anyone do something so horrible?

How do you even begin to try and explain what would drive someone to do that to other human beings in the name of anything, any cause, religious or otherwise?

We had a lot of reasons to try and mute as much of the news as we ourselves are going to a concert in a couple of weeks time. Normally I'd be on edge anyway (I hate huge crowds) but when I saw James O'Brien's statement broadcast on LBC on that morning, his words summed up exactly how I'd be feeling watching my daughter going to her first ever gig - an occasion that should be one of those milestone moments in their young lives. Like James I can't begin to imagine what it must be like when the evening flips on its head and becomes a milestone for the most horrific reasons.

Newsround (that pinnacle of informative youth news broadcasting) put out an extremely informative and perfectly pitched piece of video that was designed specifically for parents who wanted some way of showing their children what had happened, without the hate-filled fearmongering and horrific image sharing that polluted just about every other news outlet.

I think the other thing I saw being shared the most on the day was a quote from (of all people) Fred Rogers, that pinnacle of US clean-cut awesomeness whose mother once said this about harrowing news...

“Always look for the helpers,” she’d tell me. “There’s always someone who is trying to help.” I did, and I came to see that the world is full of doctors and nurses, police and firemen, volunteers, neighbors and friends who are ready to jump in to help when things go wrong.

Those 'helpers' were everywhere after this event. Taxi drivers who turned off the meters to ferry people away from danger. Hotels that took people in. A homeless guy who was in the thick of things helping victims and nursing one woman as she lay dying. Normal everyday people doing everything they could to make sure people were safe, were looked after. For all the acts of hatred in the world there are many many more of kindness and hope, and that's really what I'll be telling Charlotte every time something like this happens.

There is good in the world, and there are good people, and those are the people you should believe in and have faith in. Don't pay any attention to the hatemongers who crawled out from under their rocks and were duly given public forums to peddle their worthless messages, pay attention to the good people who meekly stood by and soberly did their best to help out.

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