With the recent activities of the extremist group ISIS, some have contacted our office in concern to traveling with the threats of possible terrorists attacks that have been said to target European counties, and the associated heightened security levels.
This is actually something I had touched on before back in October 2010 when people asked my insider view of terrorist prevention and the daily life of Paris. With these heightened security levels, we are asked to stay alert, avoid crowed areas, such as public transit, airports, and touristic sights, as well as Europe because of the threat of terrorist attacks. But as you can see on my post back in 2010, taking action to terrorist threats in Paris has been happening since 1995 when it was a target of a series of bombings. These bombings had some consequences: no opaque public trash containers, no public luggage lockers, and machine-gun wielding armed soldiers at key high-profile locations including monuments and train stations. Initially it was shockingly incongruous to suddenly see full-camouflaged soldiers with machine guns in central Paris, and I couldn’t help chuckle at the irony that jungle camouflage must be the worst way to blend into an urban jungle, but I suppose the whole point of this so-called ‘camouflage’ was to stand out like a disuasionary sore thumb.
Slowly these minor annoyances became normal to our everyday lives and eventually better compromises were introduced, such as transparent public trash containers and some limited access to luggage lockers. Those shocking full-camouflaged armed forces walking around Paris? Well, we got used to them too; and all these years later they have become a part of our daily lives and a reminder of the presence of protection.
Due to the increased concern, I wondered what other changes might have been made in the past decade and according to the city of Paris’ website, the city does a yearly report for protection for both tourists and tranquility for the daily lives of Parisians. The latest goals and improvements made for 2014 included a focus to create specialized brigades in high areas of nightlife, gardens, and parks as well a plan to add at least 1000 more security cameras in high-profile areas of the city.
To be honest, it seems that there is always a security threat of some sort, yet Parisians continue to go about their days as normal, using common sense and being alert to their surroundings keeping a watchful eye for anything unusual, just like a New Yorker would.
As the American president Franklin D. Roosevelt once said “The only thing to fear is fear itself” and while some feel it is best to stay home to feel protected from these radical threats, others strongly believe that the vanishingly low probability of actually coming into harms way should not be irrationally overweighted in one’s mind, and that terrorist threats should not rule our lives and the reasonable decisions we make.
What do you think?
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