Until three hours ago, I avoided watching television today, mainly because I didn’t want to be depressed by the latest news about the economy. Unfortunately, when I eventually turned on my TV, an equally depressing story was being reported on all the cable news networks.
Teams of heavily armed gunmen attacked luxury hotels, a restaurant and a crowded train station in Mumbai, India, killing at least 78 people, injuring hundreds more and taking numerous hostages. The terrorists reportedly targeted Westerners, particularly Americans and Britons. The last time I looked at the news, the landmark Taj Mahal hotel was on fire.
As I sat in disgust, staring at a screen filled with disturbing images of bloodied victims in the streets of Mumbai, my mind flashed back to April 19, 1995, when Timothy McVeigh blew up the Alfred P. Murrah federal building in Oklahoma City. My late grandmother called me that day to talk about how frightening the world is now. A month earlier, a religious cult released the deadly nerve gas Sarin on five trains in the Tokyo subway system. And Americans were obsessed with the daily doings of O.J. Simpson’s murder trial at that time.
My grandmother lived through the Great Depression and two world wars, but she was scared by McVeigh’s domestic terrorism. Today I couldn’t help but wonder what she might say to me now in this time of economic downturn and constant awareness that terrorism can strike anywhere without warning. These are depressing times, to be sure. But as was the case in 1995, these trying times also shall pass.
Let’s just hope we all survive them intact.