In the aftermath of the Brussels terrorist bombings, some of our friends have decided to cancel planned trips to Europe.
Obviously, that’s not an unreasonable decision. They’ve confirmed that Americans were among those killed in the Belgium attacks, and police raids that have occurred following the attacks are indicating the existence of a large terrorist network in western Europe.
Combine those facts with the overall perception that Europe is struggling to deal with the latest flood of immigrants from the Middle East and didn’t effectively screen the incoming refugees, that Muslims in Europe are not integrated into European society, and that the European police forces haven’t done a very good job of identifying and tracking terrorists, and it’s not surprising that people are deciding that now is not the time to venture across the Atlantic. And when you read that European police efforts are handicapped by laws that seem motivated more by political correctness than by an honest effort to promote security — like the Belgian law that prevents police raids between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. — you could easily conclude that if the Europeans aren’t interested in effectively dealing with terrorism, why should I take the risk?
Kish and I are in the opposite camp. She’s a rationalist who notes that, even with the recent attacks, you’re still statistically more likely to die from a bathtub fall or a traffic accident on the way to the grocery store than a terrorist bomb, and I’m a fatalist who believes that your number could called anywhere, anytime, so why not see the world a bit before your time is up. Plus, I don’t want the terrorists to think they’ve won and achieved the broad societal terror that is their primary goal. If no one from America travels to Europe, ISIS, al Qaeda, and their terrorist brethren will chalk one up in the win column.
We weren’t planning a visit to Europe because we’ve had several wonderful trips there and we were interested in going to some place in the southern hemisphere, because we’ve never been there and, as a bucket list item, I would one day like to see the constellations in the southern sky. Now I’m thinking that maybe we should consider putting a trip to the Old Continent on the calendar, as a way of telling the terrorists to stick it.