Mrs F and I contemplated this question about 12 hours after we’d first heard of the horrific scenes in Paris. We were sat in a coffee shop in a very large shopping centre, one that has been the focus of terrorist plots before – at least there have been arrests, trials and imprisonments that say so.
“What would you do if it happened here and now?” I was honest; no sense of chivalry or bravery. I’d run. I’d try to get away as far and as fast as I could. It is impossible to say what you would or wouldn’t do isn’t it until you are in that situation and for the vast majority of us we’ll never be there. There is relief in that thought. Last Friday night my son was at a rock concert in Birmingham. He regularly attends such events, he loves music and takes advantage of living in a large city to do so. I’ve been a regular gig goer most of my adult life, although as economic realities of reduced salary and simply the issues of conditions like my tinnitus and vertigo I go less these days. What I’m say is… we could so easily have been in a place like The Bataclan at the wrong time on the wrong day… there but for the Grace of God. I of course, selfishly, am grateful this wasn’t in Birmingham at the venue my son was enjoying himself at.
My overriding feeling watching the events and reports from Paris is just one of total disbelief and numbness. What are these people trying to achieve? I know there is the fear thing, the changing how people live their lives and distrusting others – I get that to them is a victory of sorts. But truly is the plan to remove from the earth every single person who doesn’t live by the rules they (the tiny minority) have decided are the only “correct” version? I struggle to get into that mind set – how can you be so utterly blind in that belief? Largely in the back of my head is the phrase “So what happens when you have killed us all? What then? Who’s next?”
Is it possible that in a few thousand years an alien race who’ve just heard one of our first radio transmissions arrive from a distant galaxy to shake hands with some new neighbours in their bit of the galaxy. They arrive to find only animals that haven’t the technology of the capacity to look out from their precious blue planet. They find cities being reclaimed by the wildlife where the intelligent ones lived and all they can deduce is that they all killed each other in a war where a few sought to impress on the many that they were the ones who were right and that all the others were wrong.
They take a bunch of photos – write some music, songs and poetry, paint disturbing impressions of the final apocalypse they have found and view and perform these back on their own planet to an audience that doesn’t comprehend… except one at the back who thinks… maybe they were right and my way is better than everyone else’s if only I can convince them. He goes off to make the first weapon that race had ever seen to be used by one of its own against its own.
Is that the sad pathetic legacy we humans (who are by the way the only sentient being we are aware of in the universe with the capacity we have technology wise) are going to leave behind?