Why this D.C. Resident Isn’t Freaking Out About a Terrorist Attack

I’m a D.C. resident, and yesterday, I took my little girls ice skating for the first time.  It was chaotic, crowded, and a lot of fun for my daughters.  And although I hate to admit it, it occurred to me that if a terrorist really wanted to wreak some havoc, it would be easy for him to shoot the place up before anyone could stop him.  What a heartwarming idea. 

But then I had another thought: Even if a terrorist is eventually going to pull off an ice skating rink massacre, he’s not at this one right now, and I’m going to enjoy this moment with my girls. 

I realize it’s easy to get paralyzed by fear.  I mean, if a bunch of innocent people can get murdered after an office party in San Bernardino, then maybe none of us are safe.  It’s particularly concerning when you consider that, in a 2011 Pew Center poll, 8% of Muslim Americans said that suicide bombings and other forms of violence against civilian targets are sometimes justified to defend Islam from its enemies.  Even at the most conservative estimates, that’s hundreds of thousands of Muslim Americans we’re talking about.  And quite frankly, that statistic makes me want to panic a little bit.

But here’s the thing: Although I realize there’s a need to use wisdom in these perilous times, I don’t think it’s wise to surrender our peace to terrorist boogeymen who may never materialize in our lives.  I don’t think it’s wise to ignore the fact that the same Pew survey found that millions and millions more Muslim Americans said that suicide bombings and other forms of violence against civilian targets are never justified.

Enough from me, though.  Let’s hear a word from C.S. Lewis on what he thought we should all do in the case of atomic war.  It’s perfectly applicable here.

The first action to be taken is to pull ourselves together. If we are going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, let that bomb, when it comes, find us doing sensible and human things — praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts — not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs.

Some would say, “You’re going to be sorry one day when a terrorist attack really does hit D.C. again.”  And to that, I would say this: I’ll never be sorry for choosing to walk in peace rather than burning up my energy worrying about criminal thugs I can’t control.

Life is too short and eternity is too promising to spend the present chewing my fingernails off in fear over what might happen on any given day.  The terrorists can plan whatever attacks they want — I plan on continuing to have a nice week with my wife and kids.

Author’s note:  On December 15, 2015, an updated version of this piece was published on Fox News Opinion at FoxNews.com.  If you’d like an email with a weekly recap of what I’ve written, click here.  You can also keep up with my latest articles (and more) on Facebook or Twitter.



  1. Robert Cook

    I appreciate how you bring a dose of calming reality to the challenging times in which we find ourselves today. As a fellow believer I am frequently conflicted by my beliefs of how Christ would have me both think and react to these situations and the ‘remedies’ proposed by others; and my desire to protect my loved ones and to stand up for my country. It somehow feels almost hypocritical to feel inward approval for greater restrictions while also wanting to render some form of aid and support to those truly in need. Mat 25:40 “and the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ur have done it unto the least of these my brethren, yet have done it unto me.”
    Regarding your quotation of CS Lewis, very nice…I really love his views. However, there is a difference regarding the ‘inevitability’ of one’s fate regarding proximity to ground zero of a nuclear device and being caught in an ‘action’ of some sort by maleficent people in some public place. I’m of the opinion that we can be released from ‘worry’ knowing that God is at work in the mess (in control), but still taking whatever reasonable measures I can to improve the odds so to speak. By this I mean I can use my intellect to stay more situationally aware in public settings, or to take the briefest of moments to ‘map out’ escape routes and an action plan for various situations that may arise in this new and volatile time. If you are comfortable with guns (not everyone is or should be), consider getting a CHL and devote some time to practice with it. You may be the one person in a position to save not only your life but many others if you are able. What a blessing that would be for all the ‘sheep of His flock’ that couldn’t protect themselves from the wolf.
    Yes I gladly accept whatever God’s plan is for me, as I’ve already given myself to Him. I won’t worry……but I won’t be complacent either. Prepare yourselves.


  2. Colin Turner


    First, thank you for the OpEd as I think people need a reminder to not fearfully and sheepishly carry on with their lives. Second, as our friend in Christ, Robert, states above, both the threat and the remedy are real and you can choose to believe and take action or “huddle together” in a different way: with naivety and refusal to acknowledge the truth.

    You write as if there have been threats and no acts of violence, intent with no execution. You choose to associate the radical Muslim killers with faceless, non-human “bogeymen” when the source of the threats is clear:radical jihadism; the intent of the perpetrators is stated: to brutally murder us all; and the murderers are our Islamic neighbors, friends, and co-workers.

    The manner in which you disregard the clear definition and importance of vigilance, and disassociate yourself from the threat that faces us all is disconcerting to say the least. Just because it hasn’t happened to you doesn’t mean it can’t, especially knowing that radical jihadiats target our most vulnerable: gun free zones, school, workplaces, etc…places like D.C.

    Don’t be naive my friend…the threat is real, the solution is clear; you cannot put your head in the sand and righteously declare you will be joyful despite possible danger. You must take action, both physically and mentally prepare yourself for the imminent threat, so that you are ready to act when it does, and have real, confident grounding, defendable joy and peace is it does not.


    1. I don’t think that living joyfully and being prepared are mutually exclusive. But I do think that – outside of deciding how you’ll use your body to protect others when the time comes – there’s not a great deal one can reasonably be expected to do to stop a coordinated and unexpected terrorist attack.


  3. OK
    67 years old you make some good points liked when you really got saved,


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