Facebook messages come through every minute – people marking themselves as “safe.”
Twenty two people are not, and sixty more are physically wounded. The psychological wounds for others who were there, for the emergency services, and for others further afield (loved ones, friends) will take time to be obvious, longer still to heal (if they ever do).
Already the familiar patterns are kicking in. The election campaigning suspended, the newsfeeds full. We all know the rituals now, of a twenty-first century terror attack in the West. The hashtags, the solemn declarations, the “Je suis” marches, the sombre faces of politicians telling us what we know, having no more to say than anyone else, but having to fulfil that role. We look for solace.
We will learn more of the attacker who committed this mass murder. Arrests will be made, trials held. Recriminations will be launched about “why wasn’t more done?”, “why wasn’t this spotted?”
We are scared. We do not want to admit – cannot admit- what we have been told; that while there is a lot that can be done to make these massacres less likely, the risk can never be removed altogether.
This is not the first attack, it will not be the last. And the blood banks are full already, so we wonder what solidarity looks like, how do you HELP in a situation like this? Beyond the grieving, and the listening to the fears and terrors, and supporting those who have suffered, what is to be done? how?