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.