Monday 23 October 2017

Life | Attending an Event After a Terrorist Attack

Attending an Event After a Terrorist Attack

On 22nd May 2017, the UK was subjected to one of the most horrendous acts of terrorism since 2005. A suicide bomber detonated a device at an Ariana Grande concert killing 22 innocent lives and hurting many more. I remember the day it happened, my best friend was there with her sister and thankfully they were safe but still, I grieved and I cried for all those who weren't. I know there are acts of terrorism everywhere, I'm aware this kind of stuff still happens in the UK albeit not on this scale, but this was the one that affected me the most. I've been to the MEN more times than I can count, concerts are a safe place, I spent many of my teen years at gigs, watching bands and I met some amazing people through this. It was too close to home, more so because I knew people there. We can be sad for other people anywhere but this time it was different. 

It was so different in fact because I was due to attend an LGBT event in Manchester that week and I was in two minds whether to go or not. It was only when I spoke to Pete that I made the decision to go, he said to me "don't be so stupid, now is the safest time to go" and he was right. I went, although my anxiety was through the roof driving down Mancunian Way. But I went and I had the best time ever, we were safe, there was an emotional tribute to the victims and I was glad I did it. No terrorist was going to scare me into missing out on something I loved so much. 

My nan on the other hand had a different point of view. Like me, the attack at the arena had scared her. She had bought my cousin and I tickets to see Little Mix in the Echo Arena for October, but she had told us both we weren't going. I told her I was still going because I wasn't giving in to fear and again, it was the safest time to go. Besides she was going to see Neil Diamond in Manchester in October so why shouldn't I still go to see Little Mix? Months on, she calmed down and agreed we could go, and Hollie (aged 11) was again excited to go, she planned for us to go wearing fluroscent dots on our faces and have matching tshirts.

Fast forward to a week before the gig and my nan told me Hollie was unsure on whether to go or not and I knew straight away she was scared, I asked her why she didn't want to go, got it out of her that she was afraid and when trying to convince her I left her to it. There was no way I was going to force her to go, there was no way I could change her mind. My nan then had another little word with her but she had made up her mind, she wasn't going.

I was gutted for her. I was sad for the fact that she was too scared to do something she had been looking forward to for 10 months. Sad for the fact she was missing out. Sad for the fact her friends were going. There was nothing on this earth anyone could have said to make her change her mind. And this is what terrorism does and how it wins. I'm sure in a few years she will overcome this fear but for now she is going to miss out and that makes me angry.

The tickets didn't go to waste, my mum came with me and boy did we feel like frauds! We were the only ones there without kids but we did have a ball! Upon entry to the venue we were body scanned in by security with metal detectors, something I've never ever seen before. My mum told me she felt more nervous at this concert because it was kids and there could be a repeat of the tragedy in May and I must admit it was at the back of my mind too. However, when we left the arena there was a big police presence, four by four vehicles and even armed police so they weren't taking any chances at all.

I guess there will be many concerned parents and guardians out there in light of what happened earlier in this year and I don't doubt many children missed out on Monday but I'm hoping by reading this post it changes your mind.

We are safer now than we have ever been! 

Rachael xo

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